Government database to track all public servants accused of fraud and corruption

The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) says it will build a disciplinary database that will track and monitor all government officials and public servants under investigation for fraud and corruption.

DPSA minister Senzo Mchunu said that his department recognises the seriousness of public service employees involved in fraud and corruption, and the database is one measure being put in place to track those who are under investigation.

Responding in a recent national assembly Q&A, Mchunu said that corruption and fraud investigations are the sole mandate of the South African Police Service (SAPS), while discipline management falls under the mandate of the respective heads of governmental departments.

However, he noted that in terms of section 15 of the Public Administration Management Act, misconduct emanating from criminal investigations is a DPSA responsibility.

“It is therefore envisaged that the newly established Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit will establish a central disciplinary database to monitor, track and record public servants under investigation for misconduct which may include corruption and fraud,” he said.

“The unit will play an important role to coordinate the involvement of the two identified stakeholders (the SAPS and department heads) in a decentralised process, so as to be able to paint a holistic picture regarding the involvement of public service employees in fraud and corruption.”

South Africa currently ranks 70th on Transparency International’s latest Corruption Index.

The index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, drawing on 13 expert assessments and surveys of business executives. It uses a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

The group noted that South Africa, like many other countries, have shown no progress or movement when it comes to dealing with corruption, despite almost two years of promises.

A year ago, president Cyril Ramaphosa promised to take action against against corruption having referred to the period under former president Jacob Zuma as “the lost decade”, marred by corruption allegations, nepotism, and ‘state capture’.

A State Capture Commission of Inquiry was set up in August 2018. To date, the commission has sat for more than 190 days and heard evidence from over 150 witnesses.

The transcript of the evidence that has been led and recorded consists of more than 27,000 pages, with exhibits of more than 450,000 pages.

Read: South Africa’s R500 billion coronavirus plan in numbers

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Government database to track all public servants accused of fraud and corruption