Minister confirms that Uyinene’s murder was the consequence of a collapsed public service
6 November 2019
Just one day after the first court appearance of the accused killer of Uyinene Mrwetyana, who was raped and murdered following the simple act of visiting a post office, the Democratic Alliance (DA) can reveal that the government has no central system in place to identify and screen public servants with criminal records.
In the wake of Uyinene’s murder, which was allegedly committed by a post office employee who had a previous criminal conviction for armed robbery, the DA immediately sought to find out how it was possible that such a dangerous convict could be employed in the public service. Today we got our answer, as Public Service and Administration Minister, Senzo Mchunu revealed in response to our parliamentary question that information on criminal records “is not captured on the PERSAL system.” PERSAL is the central Personnel and Salary System used by all national and provincial government departments to manage human resources.
The Minister’s answer confirms that Uyinene’s tragic murder was the consequence of a collapsed public service. It vividly illustrates that the ANC’s policy of cadre deployment, which deliberately enables unqualified and even criminal elements to be appointed to the public service, has not only resulted in billions of Rands being stolen but also has deadly consequences as services collapse and criminals hijack the state.
In his answer, the Minister indicated that – 25 years into democracy – his department will now “be embarking on a number of initiatives to address the matter…[including] the creation of a database of employees who have criminal records.”
The Minister’s shocking admission that the government does not have a functional way of screening and preventing criminals from becoming public servants is too little and too late for Uyinene. It is also too late for the hundreds of victims of Life Esidimeni and Marikana, and the 3 832 patients who died last year in Gauteng hospitals – all of whom died as a direct result of cadre deployment and the resultant state collapse.
This only strengthens the DA’s resolve to introduce a new Professional Public Service law that will take all powers of appointment away from politicians and give it to an independent and strengthened Public Service Commission. We call on all political parties to support our pending legislation as a way of honouring the memories of Uyinene and the thousands of other victims of our collapsed state. It is the only way to build a skilled, professional and competent state where public servants empower citizens instead of killing them.
Issued by Leon Schreiber, DA Shadow Minister for Public Service and Administration, 6 November 2019