Public Works employees caught with hands in the cookie jar

Dr Allen Grootboom

DA Provincial Spokesperson on Roads and Public Works

Five employees of the provincial department of public works performed remunerative work outside the department without written permission. This came to light during the department’s annual report presentation at the legislature today.

According to a written response from the department, two of these employees were doing business at Health, two at Education and one at SASSA.

The above situation highlights exactly why the DA has been lobbying for Northern Cape government to table a bill that regulates the interests of state employees. In the DA-governed Western Cape, such a bill has already been tabled. Amongst other things, the bill seeks to ensure that before the government enters into any contract with an entity, the entity must provide an affidavit disclosing whether or not it is owned or part-owned by employees of the government. It also requires that all government employees disclose their business interests at prescribed intervals, in the same way that members of cabinet already do.

Every year, millions of rands worth of state money goes to companies with links to civil servants, their families or members of their spouses’ families. In this way, civil servants benefit inappropriately from government tenders, and in so doing undermine the role of the public service.

The people of this province shouldn’t have to wait any longer for broken promises by government to end corruption, cronyism and nepotism in government. And if Premier Sylvia Lucas is really committed to the fight against corruption, she will support the DA’s proposed legislation.