Hon Chairperson, allow me to congratulate the hon Minister, Collins Chabane, on his appointment as Minister for the Public Service and Administration. Minister, indeed you have an enormous task that lies ahead of you in the Public Service to turn it into an effective service delivery machine. The DA is looking forward to working with you to improve the lives of our people.
Chairperson, good financial management is of paramount importance when it comes to running an efficient institution. It is particularly important for us to allocate and spend funds wisely. Corruption and mismanagement of funds are the main reasons that prohibit this department from delivering its projects within specific timeframes, within specific budget allocations and according to specifications.
The most common and unlawful behaviour amongst public servants is that of financial misconduct and unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure. When we tune in to the radio and open the daily newspapers, all we hear and read of is corruption, corruption and more corruption. According to the Public Service Act of 1994, one of the key requirements of government officials in the Public Service, at both national and provincial level, is to perform their responsibilities, making efficient, effective and economic use of public resources.
On many occasions President Zuma assured South Africans that the Public Service is in good health, but the question remains: What is the real diagnosis of the state of affairs in our Public Service, and do we, as a country, have the political will to deepen democracy and build effective and legitimate institutions grounded in the rule of law and respect for human rights?
On too many occasions we have failed in our constitutional responsibility to appoint suitable persons within the Public Service domain. The Public Service Commission, PSC, has a constitutional mandate vested with custodial, oversight responsibilities to monitor, evaluate and investigate public administration practices.
Just last week on Wednesday, the Public Service Commission's bid to enhance its powers to enforce its directives was met with opposition by the ruling party. It argued that there are too many monitoring bodies dealing with corruption, leaving the watchdog toothless. The Public Service Commission informed the portfolio committee that their hands are tied when recommendations are ignored by the departments. Instead they rely on oversight by Parliament to enforce compliance.
We cannot afford to remain complacent. If departments previously enforced the recommendations of the Public Service Commission, we would not have had situations where in 2009-10, criminal proceedings were instituted against employees in only 22% of the cases of employees charged with financial misconduct. In 2010-11, this figure went down to 20%.
Although this figure improved and increased to 32% in 2011-12, it still means that in 28% of cases no criminal proceedings were instituted, and quite shocking is the fact that in 40% of cases the department could not say whether criminal proceedings were instituted or not - scared because it is about family, it is about friends, it is about cadre deployment.
If you look today at the deployment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng, one cannot resist saying that within the ruling party you find that the political climate is always cloudy and cold with thunderstorms threatening to lose three metros in South Africa!
The Legacy Report of the Fourth Parliament suggests that the National Treasury increases the Public Service Commission's budget to extend its mandate to all spheres of government, including that of local government. We have to ask ourselves whether this will really be necessary when this body has such limited powers. What is the purpose of expansion when its recommendations are disregarded? We are losing over R25 billion to R30 billion a year - R1 000 per second.
Chairperson, in my constituency in the North West province, the head of the social development department, Adv Matshidiso Mogale, was sent away on special leave following his being implicated by the Public Service Commission's reports after it had investigated numerous operational issues such as the lease of offices and conduct of senior managers. Advocate Mogale was appointed for merely two years, and this happened!
It is ironic that the MEC for Social Development in the province is still studying the report irrespective of the recommendations by the Public Service Commission. Operation Clean Audit in the North West province has failed dismally simply because almost all municipalities are bankrupt. And in the meantime, our premier, hon Supra, boasts on every front page of the newspapers, advertising the municipalities.
In contrast, the South African Institute of Government Auditors ranked the Western Cape as the best-run province in the country. Indeed, hon Chairperson, what a good story to tell!
Another investigation by the Public Service Commission into former director- general Mr Bobby Soobrayan's role in the textbook scandal - he allegedly awarded a R243 million tender to Lebone Group Holdings - might reveal that his name is not cleared, despite the announcement by the Department of Basic Education on 31 March that Soobrayans's role in the textbook crisis had been finalised and that he has been cleared by Minister Angie Motshekga.
Again, whether the findings and recommendations of the Public Service Commission will be implemented remains to be seen. The annual report of 2012-13 states that the department employs nine people with varying disabilities, with six evacuation, Evac, chairs to assist people with disabilities. I believe that this department can improve in this regard.
Minister, I have been approached by a previous employee of this department who was born with cerebral palsy. Her name is Robyn Murphy. On 23 May 2000, she was involved in an incident at work. The incident was reported and accepted as being work-related.
She contacted various institutions, including the Presidential Hotline, to assist her with transportation for physically disabled people as she was unable to use mainstream public transport. Robyn was informed that there were constraints as the service was running at capacity and they were unable to register any new applicants, and she does not stay in a previously disadvantaged area.
This left her with no option but to rely on her 79-year-old mother to get her to and from work every day. Last year, she realised that she now was in a position to again apply for work. On 6 August 2013, she wrote to the then Minister for the Public Service and Administration to be considered for re- employment.
Minister, I am in possession of the response from the Ministry. At the time, the head of the Ministry, W F Hugo, stated that they acknowledged receipt of her letter, but until today she has not received any reply from the department. It seems that some Ministers in our Parliament not only treat Members of Parliament, but also the people down there, as less than they are, less than human. Perhaps they feel entitled to do so because they are the sons and daughters of a political elite.
Minister, today, almost a year later, I invited her and she is here today to witness that I, as a public representative, am submitting her plight to you. Minister, Robyn and I trust in you and believe that you will come back and give clarity on this matter. Thank you so much that you earlier indicated to me that you yourself will accept this envelope regarding the conversations and emails about Robyn.
I want to emphasise that it is not about Robyn here, it is about people with disabilities. I see no reason why her medical condition should deny her an opportunity to be part of mainstream society. I see no reason why she can't contribute to making a meaningful change in our society. I see no reason for this and that is why I appeal to the Minister to assist and please consider her for employment in this regard. [Interjections.] I am raising it now, hon member, because the then Minister did not give it a hearing.
Chairperson, the hastily passed Public Administration Management Bill gives the Minister of Public Service and Administration wide, unfettered, discretionary powers to pass regulations on the Public Service. We have petitioned the President to send this Bill back to Parliament to have it reviewed simply because we feel that there are a lot of gaps for bureaucracy within the system and ... [Time expired.] I thank you.