Working by moonlight – not on government’s time!

Phumla WilliamsThe article in The Star newspaper, 10 September 2013: “Over 1 000 state staff moonlighted” is of grave concern to government.

We remain resolute in our commitment to serving the public and will not allow the actions of a corrupt few to taint the public service.

Every day millions of dedicated and professional public servants discharge their duties to the best of their abilities. They do so in the knowledge that their steadfast service helps to ensure a better life for all.

It is therefore extremely disappointing that essential personnel such as police officers and medical practitioners, as well as some senior public servants have performed remuneration work outside their official duties without the necessary permission.

These transgressions are particularly disturbing as there are regulations in place which allow officials to engage in remunerative work outside the public service, provided they have the necessary permission.

Public servants are also well aware that according to the policy on ‘remunerative work outside employment’ they have a duty to obtain prior approval for remunerative work. The policy also states that remunerative work to be undertaken by the employee should in no way hamper them in the performance of their official duties.

Government wishes to place on record that it will not hesitate to act in ensuring that public servants who knowingly break rules and regulations are made to account for their actions. Incidents of corruption and/or dereliction of duty will not be tolerated and are outside the norm.

A number of investigations into these “moonlighting transgressions” are already underway and the outcomes of these will determine what steps will be taken against the perpetrators.

Government strongly believes that those who serve the public must be held to a higher standard of accountability. Just last month several public service unions endorsed the newly launched Public Service Charter. The Charter as implemented by the Department of Public Service and Administration calls for higher standards of public service by government employees to the public.

The Public Service Charter is a commitment between government and public servants to improve service delivery, it also seeks to further professionalise and encourage excellence in the public service. Simply put government along with public servants have committed themselves to a higher level of delivery.

It is therefore clear that the behaviour of a few is totally at odds with the ethos and culture that we are building. Government will continue to hold public servants to account for their actions and those who operate outside the established norms will have to answer for their actions.

Phumla Williams is acting CEO of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)

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