The Public Servants Association (PSA) has accused the public protector’s office of “silencing” union shop stewards with threats of dismissals after it raised concerns over the axing of a high-ranking official and a raft of suspensions.
“The PSA represents the majority of [public protector] employees and has previously been vocal on how the Public Protector handles human resource-related issues and discipline in the organisation,” a PSA statement read.
“PSA shop stewards are targeted and disciplined for performing their functions as union representatives. The PSA regards these actions as a means to prevent the union from speaking out against ongoing improprieties in the workplace.”
The union questioned how the chief operating officer Basani Baloyi was found to be “unsuitable” and dismissed, when Public Protector CEO Vussy Mahlangu was dismissed by the Department of Rural Development for serious acts of misconduct.
Besides Baloyi’s dismissal, executive manager Pona Mogaladi, chief investigator Abongile Madiba, chief investigator Lesedi Sekele and senior investigator Tebogo Kekana have been suspended, News24 reported.
The PSA urged parliament to speed up the process relating to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s fitness to hold office to “assure South Africans of the integrity of this crucial constitutional institution in all areas of its operation, including its human resources”.
The public protector’s office investigates and reports on improper conduct in government.
It is looking for a new deputy director as the tenure of its current deputy, Kevin Malunga, ends in December.
Public protector spokesperson Oupa Segalwe was not immediately available to comment.