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New ethics unit for "rotten" public servants after grant corruption exposed

28 September 2021 9:44 AM
Tags:
Corruption
Social grants
Covid-19 grant
ethics unit
Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit.

Breakfast host Refilwe Moloto chats to Dr. Salomon Hoogenraad-Vermaak about the Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit.
  • Government has launched a new unit to root out corruption in the public service
  • The unit aims to encourage ethics among public servants and introduces systems to combat corrupt activities
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday revealed that 16,000 government employees have illegally claimed Covid-19 grants
  • He says the unit has already begun identifying those involved in Covid-19 grant corruption, dodgy PPE contracts and UIF fraud

FILE: The lengthy queue at the Maponya Mall Sassa office where some people have been waiting since the night before in order to get their social grants. Picture: Kgomotso Modise/Eyewitness News

Government has introduced a new ethics unit targeting corrupt public servants.

President Cyril Rampahosa says the recently launched Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit will go a long way to rooting out corruption in the public sector.

Rampahosa says the government has stepped up its efforts to combat corruption in the wake of revelations that thousands of public servants have been illegally receiving social grants.

In his weekly newsletter on Monday, Ramaphosa revealed that around 16,000 government employees were irregularly paid the Covid-19 social relief grant.

Dr. Salomon Hoogenraad-Vermaak, who's the Chief Director of the new unit, says not all public sector employees are rotten apples.

According to Hoogenraad-Vermaak, the number of public servants doing business with the state has decreased from 8,500 in 2017 to 118 people now.

He says the ethics unit will "specifically look at those public servants who went astray so that we can bring them back and focus on what they are paid to do."

The unit will build capacity within public bodies to institute disciplinary proceedings in cases of misconduct.

It will also refer corruption cases to government’s Anti-Corruption Task Team and follow up criminal and disciplinary cases involving public servants.

In addition to working with law enforcement authorities, the unit will develop norms and standards for conducting lifestyle audits and for whistleblowing.

Hoogenraad-Vermaak says the unit will appoint ethics officers and ethics committee in each government department to help instill a culture of ethics in the public service and strengthen oversight.

It is shocking because the last thing you expect of a public servant is actually to steal from the people they are supposed to serve.

Dr Salomon Hoogenraad-Vermaak, Chief Director - Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit

This unit is not a law enforcement unit and it does not have an investigative mandate.

Dr Salomon Hoogenraad-Vermaak, Chief Director - Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit

The immediate role that we have is to look at corruption and to identify corruption, although our main focus should actually be to look at prevention because prevention is better than cure. But because of the direness of the situation, we're looking at identifying the corruption that is there.

Dr Salomon Hoogenraad-Vermaak, Chief Director - Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit



28 September 2021 9:44 AM
Tags:
Corruption
Social grants
Covid-19 grant
ethics unit
Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit.

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