DA consults lawyers on government designation of anti-corruption oversight as ‘non-essential’

Please click here for a soundbite by Dr Leon Schreiber MP, DA Shadow Minister of Public Service and Administration.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is outraged to learn that President Cyril Ramaphosa does not regard anti-corruption work and constitutionally-mandated oversight over the public service as an essential service.

During a meeting of the portfolio committee on public service and administration yesterday afternoon, the Director-General of the Public Service Commission (PSC) revealed that Ramaphosa’s National Command Council (NCC) has classified all aspects of the PSC’s work, including its anti-corruption hotline, as “non-essential.”

This means that the ANC-led national government has effectively suspended all forms of oversight over the entire public service.

This is despite the fact that the PSC’s role is more important than ever in the midst of the lockdown crisis created by the government. There are escalating reports of government officials exploiting the lack of effective oversight during the lockdown crisis to loot taxpayer funding, including by stealing money meant to provide food to starving citizens.

Preventing the PSC from doing its vital watchdog work means that President Cyril Ramaphosa has flung open the doors for ANC cadres in the public service to go on a looting spree the likes of which this country has never seen before.

As described in chapter 10 of the Constitution, the PSC is a vital institution in our democracy that “must exercise its powers and perform its functions without fear, favour or prejudice in the interest of the maintenance of effective and efficient public administration and a high standard of professional ethics in the public service.”

The Constitution further explicitly states that “No person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of the Commission.”

The DA is of the view that the decision to prevent the PSC from fulfilling its constitutional oversight and anti-corruption duties is likely unconstitutional.

The DA will urgently consult our lawyers in preparation for legal action to declare Ramaphosa’s actions unconstitutional and to force the NCC to declare the PSC’s oversight and anti-corruption work as essential.

Media Enquiries

Dr Leon Schreiber MP

DA Shadow Minister of Public Service and Administration
078 395 6374