With all the looting, incompetence and state capture which characterised the Zuma years, it is understandable if people have little faith in South Africa’s civil service.
Yet, this week, Themba Maseko has reminded us that there are government employees who still believe they are there to help give ordinary South Africans a better life.
Maseko gave evidence at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, recounting how Ajay Gupta had tried to steamroller him into diverting hundreds of millions of rands from government advertising budgets to the Gupta family-run ANN7 TV channel and The New Age newspaper.
As the then head of the Government Communication and Information System, Maseko refused to break procurement laws, despite the threats from the Guptas … and was sidelined in the process.
He reminded the inquiry that he was one of 27 concerned former government director-generals – many of whom were ousted for opposing corruption and theft during Zuma’s term – who signed a memorandum of concern about the rampant corruption.
The signatories said they were motivated by “democratic values, social justice and a desire to improve the quality of life of all South Africans”.
We suggest those words be printed out and stuck up in every government office.
And we salute Maseko and others like him.