The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Mpumalanga has opened a case of corruption against Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane after acknowledging that the 2021 intake of students traffic officers as part of the 2021 learnership programme “was procedurally and fatally flawed”.
Last week provincial EFF chairperson, Collen Sedibe, and several other members of the party, opened a case of corruption against the premier and the Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison, stating that the selection process of the 125 traffic officers had been flawed and some of the students selected were relatives of departmental officials and did not even reside in the province.
In a statement by the premier last week, she said she held a meeting with the Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison following the allegations.
“I was disappointed to learn that proper due diligence had not been done by the department in relation to some of the requirements that had to be met by applicants,” said Mtshweni-Tsipane.
“With this in mind and considering that the 2021 intake of students was a disproportional reflection of the geographic make up of Mpumalanga, I have come to the conclusion that the process undertaken by the department was procedurally flawed.
“I noted with concern the discontent across the province surrounding allegations of malfeasance and nepotism associated with the 2021 intake at the Mpumalanga Traffic College and made a commitment to transparent governance as well advancing the interests of the downtrodden among our people, especially the youth.
“As a result of the meeting the process has been nullified and will recommence with proper due diligence that shall be verified by independent recruitment specialists.
“In essence all 32,000 applicants will undergo the process of evaluation.”
She added that those who had originally applied need not apply again as their records were already in the possession of the department.
The premier concluded by extending an apology to the multitudes of young people who had been marginalised by circumstances not of their making.
“Nobody will deny the children of Mpumalanga opportunities to better the quality of their lives and not face consequences,” she said.
She also thanked MEC Vusi Shongwe as the leader of Government Business, MEC Shabalala, as well as representatives of organised labour for guiding the process towards a fair conclusion.
In response to the nullification of the first selection process, Sedibe said: “The nullification of the whole process by the premier herself, other than the MEC responsible for the department in concern, bears testimony to our earlier indication that the Office of the Premier was directly involved in the process from the beginning”.
Sedibe said that the nullification announcement did not relieve or exonerate the Department of Community, Safety, Security and Liaison MEC and the human resources director, as well as all the interview panel members, from the alleged corruption that happened in the process.
“The EFF view the statement by the premier as the admission of guilt and will submit it to the police as an additional statement on top of the corruption case opened against her and all the implicated officials from the departments.
“The EFF feels sorry for the 125 youth who have been withdrawn from the college as expectations were already created that they had a job.
“The EFF calls upon police and the Hawks to fast track the investigation process, and to arrest and sentence all those involved…”.
He added that the party would monitor the case as well as other leadership programmes and the processes of selection in the future.
This article was republished from Lowvelder with permission