Public Protector commends Minister’s “exemplary” conduct

Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela has lauded Correctional Services leadership for the manner in which they handled her criticism regarding the department’s decision to terminate the service of a gravely ill employee without following proper procedures last October.

Following a five-month investigation, the Public Protector found that the process followed by the department in terminating the employee’s service was not in compliance with the Public Service Act and the Constitution and therefore constituted maladministration.

She directed that the employee be re-instated with immediately, with effect from 01 November 2011 and that the department conduct an investigation into the incapacity of the employee due to ill health and considers ill health retirement for the employee.

The Public Protector also directed that the employee be placed on a temporary incapacity leave until the finalisation of the ill health retirement and that the employee be compensated for financial damages suffered and the humiliation.

Addressing a media briefing in Pretoria on Wednesday, where she release several other investigation reports, the Public Protector described Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and National Commissioner Tom Moyane’s conduct as “exemplary and in line with the promise that underpins the Constitution.”

This followed Minister Mapisa-Nqakula and Commissioner Moyane’s concurrence with the Public Protector’s findings as they appeared in the provisional report and their undertaking to fully implement the remedial action.

The investigation came about after allegations that Minister Mapisa-Nqakula had decided that the employee’s service be terminated as his ill health was becoming an impediment to his performance of duties as a Senior Manager in the department.

The employee had complained to the Public Protector that he was offered a “verbal” package of early retirement without the reduction of pension benefits and an added period of thee and a half years of service, including a lump sum salary payment for that period. He did not receive a written confirmation of the package. When his service was terminated last October, this undertaking by the department was not adhered to.

The Public Protector also released a report titled “To Be or Not To Be in Conflict”, in which the she found that a conflict of interest existed between Mr Jimmy Mayi’s former role as Director-General of the Department of Labour and his personal interests as the President of Black Management Forum (BMF).

The then Minister of Labour, Membathisi Mdladlana had failed to comply with relevant provisions of the code of conduct and the rules that required him to effectively manage the said conflict of interest.

However, on the issue of Mr Manyi’s current position as the Chief Executive Officer of Government Communication and Information System and cabinet spokesperson, only a perceived conflict of interest with his BFM duties existed. This may lead to the actual conflict of interest if not properly managed, the Public Protector said.

Other reports included “Improper Influence Unproven” and “The Ethics of Staying in Comfort”, which exonerated Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and the Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa respectively from alleged breach of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act. Regarding Minister Mthethwa, the Public Protector directed that the Ministerial Handbook be reviewed speedily to provide clarity on ethical considerations regarding executive accommodation.

Meanwhile the Public Protector also condemned the Business Day’s publishing on Wednesday of confidential information contained in a provisional report concerning the investigation against the Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Sicelo Shiceka.

She indicated that while she appreciated the interest that the media has in the work of her office and supported freedom of the press, the conduct of the Business Day was not justified by public interest and was unethical.

For more information, contact:

Kgalalelo Masibi
Senior Manager: Outreach, Education and Communication
Public Protector South Africa
(012) 366 7006
079 507 0399

Published Date: 
Wednesday, September 28, 2011