18 February 2013

South Africa: Cosatu Supports Ban On Public Servants Doing Business With State

The Congress of South African Trade Unions celebrates and fully supports the proposal by Public Service and Administration Minister, Comrade Lindiwe Sisulu, to completely ban civil servants from doing business with government, and to blacklist those found guilty of corruption or financial misconduct from working in the public service.

COSATU has been campaigning for years for a ban on public servants holding directorships or being involved in companies that do business with the state, and is delighted that this is now government policy. It is based on the principle that public servants have to choose between serving the public or running businesses but never both at the same time.

Concern over civil servants benefiting from government procurement was highlighted in 2010, when the Auditor-General revealed that tenders worth more than R624m went to companies with links to civil servants, their spouses or family members.

As the minister says: "We are very worried about the incidents or overlap of people doing business with the State (when they) are employed by the State... If we cut that umbilical cord, we might succeed in making sure that we are creating a cadre of the public service who is concerned and only concentrating on the job and not doing the job but at the same time benefiting from the State."

The federation also applauds the minister’s plan to establish an office of standards compliance, headed by a super director-general, to monitor and discipline poorly performing directors-general and provincial heads of department, and to keep a database of all government officials found with their hands in the till.

This reflects her concern about officials who resign from one department only to join another as soon as they are under internal investigation for fraud. “You will be unemployable.” she said, “because you've been found guilty of serious fraud and corruption. This is one of the ways in which we are going to be able to deal with this matter".

COSATU hopes these moves will help stop the looting of public funds by State employees and will do everything possible to assist the minister to implement her proposals and strike a blow against the scourge of corruption.

Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)

Congress of South African Trade Unions

110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Street



Tel: +27 11 339-4911 or Direct: +27 10 219-1339

Mobile: +27 82 821 7456

E-Mail: patrick@cosatu.org.za

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