“The personnel suitability checks as prescribed by the minister… emanate from the national vetting strategy that resides with the State Security Agency,” said Mchunu on Wednesday afternoon.
“Departments keep their own databases on criminal records and information is not captured on the Persal system.”
Persal, the DA explains in the statement, is the central system used by national and provincial government departments to manage human resources.
The DA said that following the rape and murder of Uyinene Mrwetyana by a post office employee, they “sought to find out how it was possible that such a dangerous convict could be employed in the public service”.
The party said Mchunu’s answer proves negligence on the part of the ANC government.
“The minister’s answer confirms that Uyinene’s tragic murder was the consequence of a collapsed public service.
“It vividly illustrates that the ANC’s policy of cadre deployment, which deliberately enables unqualified and even criminal elements to be appointed to the public service, has not only resulted in billions of rands being stolen but also has deadly consequences as services collapse and criminals hijack the state.”
Mchunu did say his department was in the process of creating a database for public service employees with a criminal record.
“The department will be embarking on a number of initiatives to address the matter which includes, but is not limited to, the creation of a database of employees who have criminal records with the assistance of other relevant departments,” he said.
According to the DA, this is too little, too late.
“The minister’s shocking admission that the government does not have a functional way of screening and preventing criminals from becoming public servants is too little and too late for Uyinene.
“It is also too late for the hundreds of victims of Life Esidimeni and Marikana, and the 3,832 patients who died last year in Gauteng hospitals – all of whom died as a direct result of cadre deployment and the resultant state collapse,” the statement alleges.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)