Home News ANC affiliation, nepotism claims spark complaint over traffic officers’ ‘irregular’ hiring

ANC affiliation, nepotism claims spark complaint over traffic officers’ ‘irregular’ hiring

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INSIGHT: The Northern Cape government is under fire for allegedly spending millions of rand irregularly on ANC-affiliated trainee traffic officers who were only interviewed telephonically and not vetted as required by the law.

The Northern Cape Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison’s decision to hire 50 trainee traffic officers has been referred to Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka’s provincial representative, Mlungisi Khanya, for investigation. File picture: Matthew Jordaan, Independent Newspapers

THE NORTHERN Cape government is under fire for allegedly spending millions of rand irregularly on ANC-affiliated trainee traffic officers who were only interviewed telephonically and not vetted as required by the law.

The Northern Cape Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison initially advertised positions for 25 trainee provincial inspectors to work at weighbridges across the Province, as well as at traffic stations and for road safety education and law enforcement statistics.

Advertisements for the positions issued in September last year show that the trainees would each receive a monthly stipend of R7,000 (R2.1 million for all 25 per annum) while training at the Matjhabeng Traffic Training Academy in Welkom.

Upon permanent appointment after successfully completing the traffic officer’s diploma, they would each be employed on a year-long probation and on an annual salary of R241,485 (or just over R6 million for all 25).

However, according to the Public Servants Association (PSA) in the Northern Cape, the department mysteriously doubled the number of trainees to 50 without proper explanation.

The DFA reported on Friday that the PSA has complained to Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka’s Northern Cape provincial representative, Mlungisi Khanya, requesting an investigation into the hiring of the trainee traffic inspectors.

The head of department (HOD), Rodney Pieterse, was informed by the union on March 27 about the allegations and complaints that all previous communications with him were ignored, but they still addressed him on pertinent issues of grave concern.

On the same day, Pieterse noted the union’s correspondence and forwarded it to the relevant officials to process it.

According to the PSA, the department has appointed 50 wardens in contrast with the 25 posts advertised, which will double the costs to R4.2 million for training and nearly R12.1 million for probation.

”Of greater concern is the fact that the entire process was compromised in the main because the interviews were conducted telephonically, which raises a serious concern about the quality and integrity of the process. We have to question the rationale in this regard and whether it was indeed effective and in line with prescripts,” the union told Pieterse.

The PSA accused the department of undertaking fraudulent, selective and improper processes to favour a select few, which renders it totally illegal and severely compromised.

Among the complaints, was that security checks were allegedly circumvented as no proper security vetting was done.

The PSA added that there was purported nepotism as family members, friends and candidates affiliated with the ANC were granted preference, which compromised fair and transparent processes.

In addition, the union stated that applicants who did not meet the requirements were listed and appointed, and three from one household were hired.

“We, therefore, demand that the recruitment and selection report for these warden intakes be made available to the PSA within five working days, failing which the Public Protector’s Office will be engaged for a full investigation,” the union threatened.

“The PSA shop stewards raised concerns with the powers that be and they were ignored,” they continued.

The PSA also believes an investigation would allay fears and concerns for the sake of the public in general.

”In this matter, where it is alleged the DTSL (Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison) favoured particular appointees on the basis of nepotism and ANC affiliation smacks of irregularities deserving of an investigation, as the process then would deprive others of a fair chance to compete and particular undeserving individuals (were) favoured and unduly advanced,” the PSA informed Khanya in its complaint.

Pieterse said that the department would be able to respond on the matter once it had received official correspondence from the Public Protector’s Office.

Khanya did not respond to questions on whether he had initiated an investigation into the complaint.

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