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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

Security vetting a must for positions in govt, SOEs – expert

This after a Scopa report said the SA Post Office hired the self-confessed killer of Uyinene Mrwetyana despite being warned of his criminal record.

The government and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) should not tolerate an employed official or a potential worker who refuses to be vetted, because these people pose dangers to the institutions’ security, an expert has said.

Professor Johan Burger, a policing and security consultant at the Institute for Security Studies, said vetting should be a strict precondition for employment in public office, particularly government departments and SOEs.

He said disciplinary action must be taken against those who refused to cooperate with the vetting process by the State Security Agency (SSA), and job candidates should be excluded if this was clearly stated as a precondition in the job advertisement.

“If this is not a precondition, they must make it one. The same should be the case with SOEs. When the vetting results from the SSA are known and become issues in departments or the SOEs, they should act on it,” he said.

Burger said all individuals, particularly in the public finance department, would have to be open to the vetting process.

“That must be part of the requirements otherwise there is no way that the employer will be able to know if the person has a criminal background or whether the person would be able to do the work with integrity.

“I would assume the same rule should be applied at SOEs because if you deal with state money or public finances, you should be vetted to determine whether you are suitable to do the work,” Burger said.

The expert opinion came as a parliamentary committee report indicated that the brutal killing of University of Cape Town’s student Uyinene Mrwetyana could have been the result of SOEs that refused to vet their employees or take advice from the SSA about potentially dangerous prospective employees.

A report by the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) said despite being warned that one of its potential employees had a criminal record, the SA Post Office went ahead and hired the man. He later confessed to the rape and murder of Mrwetyana in the Clareinch post office.

Burger further said in the case of Mrwetyana, someone should be held accountable for being negligent by ignoring the SSA report on the potential danger posed by the employee.

State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo was told that the agency was facing a huge backlog of vetting state officials, with many refusing to be vetted.


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