Premier Zille Signs Anti-Corruption Pledge
Premier Zille says a national Anti-Corruption pledge-signing campaign by the Public Service Commission is unlikely to extend beyond lip service in the fight to end corruption.
The Premier has signed the pledge and “supports its goal 100%”, but says there is not much evidence that the PSC has used its constitutional mandate to combat state capture.
According to Zille, the PSC’s lack of action included a failure to protect honest civil servants from corrupt politicians, an example being the treatment of Phumla Williams by the former, disgraced, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.
Writing in her Daily Maverick column today, Premier Zille said she had attended the pledge-signing ceremony organised by the PSC in Cape Town last week.
According to the PSC, the purpose of the pledge is to enjoin public servants “to embrace and live by constitutional values and principles”.
“It is crucial for us to return to the intention of the constitutional negotiations of the early 1990s and establish an independent, expert PSC that can appoint senior public servants on the basis of their skill and capacity, in order to end the corrupt and corrosive cadre deployment policy, once and for all,” says Zille.
The PSC has substantial powers to investigate, monitor and issue directives on a range of matters including public service recruitment, transfers, promotions and dismissals.
At the pledge-signing, Premier Zille questioned what the PSC was doing while so many state institutions were being “captured” by members of a criminal syndicate deployed into strategic positions, so that they could loot public funds.
“Was the PSC asleep on the job? Or has it been captured too?” asked Premier Zille.
The conclusion was that not enough had been done by the PSC to combat state capture of public institutions.
“Corruption is rife, not only because of a general lack of accountability, but because for at least 10 years, officials have been hand-picked for ‘deployment’ into senior positions in the public service, with the express mandate of advancing corruption,” says Zille.
This ethical erosion had become inevitable as the ruling party has actively sought to control every state institution, in pursuit of the “National Democratic Revolution” which rejects the notion of an independent, professional public service.
“There is not much evidence that the PSC is using its impressive array of powers to identify what is happening, exposing the corrupt, and defending ethical officials,” says Zille.
Without this, Premier Zille said no amount of “pledges” can counteract the incentives that entice officials into the spider web of corruption.
“The PSC has all the symbolic paraphernalia required of a state institution – a vision statement, a mission statement, glossy pamphlets, signed pledges, and a raft of senior officials in highly paid positions.
But this has clearly not enabled the PSC to translate its mandate into impactful action to ensure South Africa has the independent, professional public service we need to build a capable state,” says Zille.