Cosatu to charge those fingered in corruption

Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali has slated government plans to use the internet for background checks on candidates seeking public service employment. /SANDILE NDLOVU
Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali has slated government plans to use the internet for background checks on candidates seeking public service employment. /SANDILE NDLOVU

Cosatu will be establishing a legal team that would be monitoring what transpires in the ongoing three commissions of inquiry with the intention of opening criminal cases against those implicated in wrongdoing.

The labour federation said the move was prompted by what it described as a lack of political will and urgency to investigate and prosecute private-sector corruption.

"The setting up of a legal team is to observe and determine where there is evidence that we can lay charges and if we take the matter forward, there is a prospect of succeeding," said Cosatu's general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali.

He was addressing the media yesterday after the party's three-day central executive committee meeting in Johannesburg.

He said the private sector was also responsible for the economic mess that the country finds itself in.

Ntshalintshali claimed that in the past, the federation had laid charges against individuals in Gauteng and didn't succeed as a result of not having a strong case against those alleged perpetrators.

"Unless we have legal people behind it who have authority to follow it up and understand the state of the investigation and the cases, it's likely that your docket can easily disappear," said Ntshalintshali.

Flanked by the party's top leadership, Ntshalintshali said nobody among the alliance partners would be given special treatment if they are fingered in wrongdoing.

"We don't have allies in crime, we don't look at what position you hold. Whether there's a case that an office bearer of the union has committed some crime, we will not say we should therefore turn a blind eye," he said.

Cosatu lambasted the department of public service and administration's decision to use online tools as an additional means of checking potential employees' backgrounds and references. The federation said the move was akin to apartheid tactics used to spy on workers.

"It is totally unacceptable to have a government's surveillance programme that is meant to intimidate and punish employees and potential employees for their views.

"A free society is a society that allows people to say what they think and [express] dissent without fearing victimisation by government."

Earlier this month, public services minister Ayanda Dlodlo issued a circular encouraging the use of the internet as an additional platform for reference checks on candidates looking for employment in the public service.

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