It is business as usual at the Mpumalanga Traffic College despite Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane’s instruction to nullify the appointment of learner traffic cops two weeks ago.
The Mpumalanga premier nullified the process after revelations that it - which involved 97 young people who were chosen for the learnership - was riddled with corruption after officials allegedly manipulated processes to appoint their relatives.
This led the EFF to lay criminal charges against officials in the department of community safety, security and liaison (DCSSL) as well as Mtshweni-Tsipane’s office.
The department’s spokesperson, Moeti Mmusi, declined to answer why the learners had not vacated the college in Bushbuckridge following the premier’s decision on January 13.
“Please ask the office of the premier,” Mmusi said.
Mtshweni-Tsipane’s spokesperson, Sibongile Mkani-Mpolweni referred questions back to the department.
Mkani-Mpolweni also avoided answering a question of whether the continued presence of the learners at the college, after nullification of their appointments, was not in defiance of the premier’s order. Mtshweni-Tsipane is facing an uphill political battle in the province relating to the upcoming elective conference.
A few weeks ago, Mtshweni-Tsipane’s security was beefed up following an intelligence assessment that her life could be in danger.
Mpumalanga EFF chairperson Collen Sedibe has written to both the premier and the department’s MEC, Gabisile Shabalala, on January 21 about this but he has not received a response to date.
“The EFF has confirmed that the traffic officers are still at the college, days after you nullified the process and they are still using taxpayers’ money to eat, sleep and do the training,” Sedibe wrote.
“The EFF views your action as a deliberate act to undermine the people of Mpumalanga in general and the youth in particular, precisely because you don’t walk the talk,” he added.
Mmusi had, before the premier nullified the process, vehemently denied that anything went wrong with the recruitment.
“All the due processes were followed and the selected young men and women went through a rigorous selection programme that entailed writing tests and practical driving tests. The process was conducted by the DCSSL and there was no political interference as it has been insinuated on social media,” he said back then.
On nullifying the processes, Mtshweni-Tsipane said that the process was a “disproportional reflection of the geographic make of the province”.
She said that all 32 000 applicants would undergo an evaluation process overseen by independent recruitment specialists.