/ 30 August 2007

NACF concerned that public servants escape charges

Over 700 financial misconduct cases were reported to the Public Service Commission over the 2005/2006 financial year, with 81% of implicated employees being found guilty, the National Anti-Corruption Forum (NACF) said on Thursday.

The most prevalent form of financial misconduct was fraud and theft which amounted to 496 of the cases and the total cost of the misconduct was R45-million.

”Concern was expressed by members of the NACF that only a limited number of public servants were criminally charged emanating from financial misconduct,” said an NACF statement released after a meeting held on Wednesday.

The business sector, in their report to the forum, said fronting, particularly in the small medium and micro enterprises, was a challenge for them.

The NACF, chaired by Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, is a cross-sectoral forum that addresses corruption, and consists of representatives of the public sector, civil society and business.

Wednesday’s meeting focused on whistleblowing, preparations for the Third National Anti-Corruption Summit, expected to be held early in 2008, and an overview of the sectors.

A report by the Open Democracy Advice Centre on the application of the Protected Disclosures Act said that problems with this Act included that it was not mandatory to have a whistleblowing policy for employers, that the Legal Aid Board would not represent whistleblowers, and that there is a cap of two years’ salary on the damages that may be claimed.

The South African Law Reform Commission was currently considering the shortcomings of the Act.

The Companies Act was also being amended and the public sector had developed a whistleblowing guideline containing proposed policy for use by departments. – Sapa