Probe into MP’s link to Cape prison jobs

The Department of Correctional Services is probing why six successful job applicants all gave the Cape Town residence of an African National Congress MP as their home address.

This emerged at the Jali Commission on Monday — along with the news that the probe, ordered six months ago, has yet to yield any results.

The MP is ANC Women’s League secretary-general Bathabile Dlamini, who is also a member of the correctional services portfolio committee.

However she has denied any irregularity, saying the six merely used her address so they could get their mail more easily. The department’s national head of recruitment Hennie van Achterberg told the commission that the investigation was ordered in April this year, after it was discovered that the six all gave

E112 in the parliamentary village Acacia Park as their home address.

E112 is where Dlamini, a KwaZulu-Natal-based MP, stays when the National Assembly is in session.

Van Achterberg said this coincidence of addresses was ”deemed to be irregular”, but that the case — being probed at provincial level — was still unresolved.

The commission has already been told by another witness how the probe collapsed in a fiasco when the investigator claimed all the original documentation was stolen from his car.

Dlamini said she was approached by the parents of the six to allow them to use her address for mail from the department.

”It’s because they asked to use it and I saw no reason of refusing,” she said.

”I’m a public representative, these people come from Natal, I don’t know why would you refuse people to use your address if they want to.”

She said she did not want to be involved in any

”witchhunt”.

”How would I be involved in irregularities? I don’t work for correctional services, I don’t know how they arrange their interviews,” she said.

Earlier on Monday, the former head of recruitment in the province, Samuel Theron, told the commission that a recruitment drive was held at the end of last year.

Candidates had already been short-listed and interviewed when then-acting provincial commissioner Mnikelwa Nxele told him that there was ”another list of people from Parliament”.

”The list contained) nine or 10 names. He did not tell me which parliamentarians had compiled that list,” Theron said. He said Nxele instructed him to interview the candidates, plus those on an additional list supplied by the head of Pollsmoor’s admissions centre, that same day.

Of the parliamentary list, the hastily-constituted interviewing panel found only four to be suitable, and all four were eventually employed by the department

But Nxele also ordered him to reinstate the names of two people from the parliamentary list who had been rejected by the panel, Theron said. They also got jobs.

In addition, Nxele told him to add the names of two other people who had been eliminated in the regular recruitment process, both of them relatives of serving department officials in the region.

Theron, who was repeatedly warned by the commission’s leader of evidence Vas Soni not to lie, conceded that the procedure had been irregular, but said he had obeyed Nxele’s instructions ”because he’s my superior”.

”It was not according to the policy,” he said.

Nxele, originally from KawZulu-Natal, is currently the

department’s Western Cape head of corporate services, which puts him in charge of all personnel matters.

He told the commission on Monday he would cross-examine Theron on Tuesday, either himself or through a lawyer. There was no evidence on Monday linking the six from the parliamentary list to the six who gave the Acacia Park address.

Dlamini said she never submitted a list to Nxele.

Democratic Alliance Chief Whip Douglas Gibson said in a statement on Monday that MPs accused of securing jobs for friends should themselves appear before the commission.

”On the face of it, string-pulling of this sort sounds like nepotism at best and corruption at worst,” he said in a statement. Gibson said he would write to National Assembly Speaker Dr Frene Ginwala to draw the matter to her attention. – Sapa

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Ben Maclennan
Guest Author

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