Friday, 02 July 2021

Pretoria: The Public Service Commission (PSC) says it has noted with concern the announcement by Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu that 15 711 public servants were irregularly paid the R350 COVID-19 grants meant for the unemployed citizens.

This is not the first time such irregularities in the public service have been reported as evidenced by a number of investigations conducted by the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) and other law enforcement agencies, particularly on corruption relating to the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and Unemployment Insurance Funds’ Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme and others, following the COVID-19 outbreak.

With the high level of unemployment and the devastation that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused in South Africa and around the world, the commission said it is disheartening to know that individuals that are supposed to promote professional ethics and act in an ethical manner are the ones stealing from the vulnerable and disadvantaged members of society.

“Public servants have a duty to act morally and humanely as outlined in the Constitutional Values and Principles found in section 195 of the Constitution.

“Ethical conduct and organisational integrity are key to eradicate fraud and corruption in the Public Service.

“It is therefore important, more than ever, to professionalise the public service so that through relevant training, public servants can be equipped with skills and competencies to make ethical decisions, develop organisational integrity and apply the core ethical values and standards in and outside the workplace,” the Public Service Commission said in a statement.

“To this end, the PSC hopes that the professionalisation of the public service programme and other public sector reforms being undertaken, when adopted and implemented by government, will among others, go a long way in making it impossible for acts of unethical conduct to take place in the public service,” Commission said.

The PSC further hopes that the heads of affected government departments will speed up the recovery of the R350 paid to their officials and that relevant disciplinary processes will be instituted against the culprits.

“As part of its constitutional mandate, the PSC will closely monitor this process to ensure that indeed funds are recovered from the culprits and will also report progress to Parliament including the public,” the Commission said.

The PSC encourages members of the public and public servants to report any wrongdoing or corrupt activities through the National Anti-Corruption Hotline on 0800 701 701.