President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday rebuked South Africa’s public servants for failing to uphold work ethics, urging them to recommit themselves “to the values of selflessness and service.”Speaking in his weekly newsletter to the nation, Ramaphosa expressed disappointment after revelations in Parliament that thousands of public servants were illegally receiving money from the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grants.
He said the conduct of public servants should at all times be both legal and ethical.
“The revelation in Parliament that thousands of public servants have been illegally receiving social grants every month shows we still have a long way to go towards instilling a culture of ethics in the public service,” the president said.
He added: “It is common knowledge that applicants with other sources of income do not qualify for this grant. It is also self-evident that those who receive an income from the state are not eligible to apply.”
He warned that this “willful intent to steal from the public purse is unforgivable”, given the extent of need in the country.
In continued efforts to end corruption in the public service, Ramaphosa said the government was stepping up its efforts to prevent this kind of abuse and act against anyone in the public service involved in wrongdoing.
He revealed that the government had set up a Public Administration Ethics, Integrity and Disciplinary Technical Assistance Unit whose aim was to build capacity within public bodies to institute disciplinary proceedings in cases of misconduct and cooperate with other organs of State in holding those responsible to account.