Anti-Corruption Reports by Public Service Commission

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PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION

PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
15 May 2002
ANTI-CORRUPTION REPORTS BY PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION

Chairperson: Mr J Gomomo

Documents Handed out
Briefing Outline on PSC's Reports on AntiCorruption
Professional Ethics and Anti-Corruption (Powerpoint presentation)
Ethics Survey 2001
Whistle Blowing: A Guide for Public Sector Managers Promoting Public Sector Accountability Implementing the Protected Disclosure Act (produced by Open Democracy Centre)
- A Review of South Africa's National Anti-corruption Agencies
- Report on Effective Management of Hotlines 2002
- Explanatory Manual on the Code of Conduct For the Public Service
For copies of these documents contact PSC's Directorate: Professional Ethics Promotion on 012 328-7690

Public Service Commission website:
SUMMARY
The presentations were outlines of the Commission's work and future plans in fighting corruption in the public sector. The discussion focussed on the practicality of how the Commission would carry out its plans.

MINUTES
Mr Sikhosana led the presentation by giving an outline of the Department's work on non-compliance and stated that much of the work was still in progress and not really ready for presentation.

He said that there were two sources of non-compliance:
- Non-compliance to the recommendations of the Public Service Commission (PSC). These recommendations arose from grievances and complaints, management audits in particular departments such as Correctional Services and the Eastern Cape corruption/mal-administration audit and other maladministration/corruption-related investigations.
- Requirements of information such as that required for research (questionnaire returns; evidence requests for investigations (documents in possession of officials) and generally information obligations on public servants (Qualifications Verification; Asset Register, Performance Agreements).

He concluded by listing three factors (information/reporting overload on departments to undertake audits; culture of non-compliance and poor record filing) which he considered as risk factors if the Department did not get its tracking system right.

Dr Levin continued the presentation by talking on professional ethics and risk management reports. He outlined five reports that the Department was working on. The reports are:
- Requirements for blacklisting;
- Risk Management - A Provincial Perspective;
- Evaluation of hotlines (completed);
- National Ethics survey (completed);
- Review of South Africa's National Anti-Corruption Survey (completed).

He also highlighted two promotional guides:
"Explanatory Manual on the Code of Conduct For the Public Service: A Guide to Ethical Dilemmas in the Workplace" and "Whistle Blowing: A Guide for Public Sector Managers Promoting Public Sector Accountability Implementing the Protected Disclosure Act"

Questions
Ms U Roopnarain (IFP) asked the following questions:
- Were there any time frames or punitive measures for the 201 non-compliant cases in supplying information?

- Was there an appeal mechanism for blackmailed people and if blackmailing included nepotism?
- Would not the State Tender Board be an appropriate place to house these functions?
- Do whistle blowers have any form of protection?

Mr Sikhosana replied that the Department had deployed people to investigate the outstanding non-compliant cases and would have complete information at the end of May 2002.

On blackmailing, Dr Levin replied that one would definitely need to incorporate the appeal mechanism. He agreed that blackmailing included nepotism only if that could be proved.

Dr Levin also agreed that the State Tender Board on housing would be the best place. It is in National Treasury but I think we just indicating that it is going to be restructured, and we are not sure exactly what functions it will have from there, but it is an ideal place.


On the question of whistle blowers, Dr Levin said that there were two protecting legislative levels for whistle blowers. One was within the workplace and the other was the witness protection unit with the SAPS. He added that people were still scared to blow the whistle and that hotlines helped because they were impersonal. However, a member of the PSC delegation added that hotlines became a problem when more information was needed to follow up an investigation.

Mr Kgwele (ANC) commented that even though he agreed that at the moment it was not feasible to consider a single agency, it was possible that all department should have anti-corruption agencies within themselves.

Dr Levin agreed that it is best practice to have anti-corruption units in all departments, but that these units lack capacity to be effective. He suggested that sectoral units could be a solution.

Mr Kgwele (ANC) agreed with the establishment of sectoral units. He asked if there was a process in place to standardise the approach to hotlines.

Mr Sikhosana noted that sectoral and departmental anti-corruption units were not mutually exclusive because while some departments may need their own unit, it was also advisable to have a sectoral one that would provide a broad sense of corruption rather that a narrow departmental one. He added that this process of units would be informed by the on-going survey.

On the question of hotlines standardisation, Dr Levin said that he hoped that even the meeting was part of the process which would lead to some sort of standardisation. He added that Cabinet and committees and the survey findings and recommendations would feed into the process of the standardisation of hotlines. He also suggested that a national hotline should be looked at as a serious option which would need massive resources.

Mr Kgwele (ANC) seconded the idea of the effectiveness of one national hotline number for all levels of government.

One member observed that the Eastern Cape, Free State and North West had no hotlines yet they had high levels of corruption and asked the Commission to look into that.

Meeting adjourned.

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