Prisons deny employee victimisation
Pretoria - Allegations that Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and National Commissioner Tom Moyane victimised employees and conducted "apartheid style interrogations" are devoid of all truth, the department said on Monday.
"The allegations are rejected with the contempt they deserve. The struggle credentials of the minister and the national commissioner respectively against apartheid are beyond reproach," said spokesperson Manelisi Wolela in a statement.
"So, to label them as using despicable 'apartheid style interrogation' is not only an insult to them but also to all those who fought bitterly to bring about freedom in South Africa."
This follows reports by the Sunday Independent that the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was investigating three separate complaints of victimisation of employees by Mapisa-Nqakula and Moyane.
The latest complaint to be reported against them was that of former chief deputy commissioner of corporate services, Alfred Tsetsane, the newspaper said.
It is understood that Tsetsane wrote to the public protector in December complaining that he was subjected to abuse by the minister.
The letter states that Mapisa-Nqakula and Moyane used foul language against Tsetsane when they were communicating with him.
Tsetsane was suspended last year after sending an allegedly unsavoury SMS about the minister, but the charge was later withdrawn. He was suspended again on the day of his return to work, with three new charges instituted against him.
In December last year Tsetsane was cleared at an internal disciplinary hearing, but has so far not been reinstated to his job.
There were also allegations that Mapisa-Nqakula and Moyane used what is termed an "apartheid style of interrogation", which is described as a kangaroo court where the minister, her advisers and national commissioner intimidate, ask threatening questions and victimise an employee.
The public protector’s spokesperson Oupa Segalwe confirmed that Tsetsane’s complaint raised, among other things, the minister speaking to him in an improper way during their interactions.
He also confirmed that allegations of victimisation were also made.
The office of the public protector was liaising with the Public Service Commission (PSC) because of the complaints against the commissioner, he added.
Meanwhile, Wolela said neither the ministry nor the department had received any official notification from the office of the public protector with regard to the matter.
He said both Mapisa-Nqakula and Moyane learnt about the allegations through the weekend publication.
"They both believe that as it is the public protector's mandate to investigate abuse of state power, she has the right to do so," said Wolela.
"However in line with her responsibilities, courtesy demands that she would also inform those that she is investigating that she is indeed investigating them."
There had been a clear agenda to transform the department and improve service delivery since Mapisa-Nqakula and Moyane came on board, said Wolela.
One level of transformation was aimed specifically at the management level.
"In all matters involving change [of] management there will always be an aggrieved set of employees who have benefited from the status quo and who are opposed to change," said Wolela.
He said such "disgruntled" employees were hell bent on continuing benefiting improperly, and would do everything in their power to frustrate the process of transformation.
He welcomed the probe against the minister and the commissioner, saying neither of them had anything to hide or be ashamed of in driving a transformation strategy in the department.