Why SOE chiefs must be vetted

The executives and senior officials of all government entities such as Public Service and Administration Minister Ayanda Dlodlo should know that they are not doing the nation a favour by undergoing security screening, the writer says.
The executives and senior officials of all government entities such as Public Service and Administration Minister Ayanda Dlodlo should know that they are not doing the nation a favour by undergoing security screening, the writer says.
Image: Ntswe Mokoena / GCIS

The government has begun with laudable moves to root out corruption and mismanagement at state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

The government wants to name and shame habitually corrupt executives and senior officials of SOEs and other state organs through a vetting process.

While we welcome the move, it's mind-boggling that there are executives out there who are doing everything possible to frustrate the process.

During a meeting with parliament's standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) yesterday, intelligence minister Ayanda Dlodlo shocked MPs when she revealed that 100 senior officials at the troubled Eskom are simply refusing to undergo security vetting processes of the State Security Agency (SSA), as the government moves to clean up corruption and mismanagement at the parastatal.

The security agency said only 21 out of 121 top executives at the power utility had complied or agreed to participate in vetting processes.

SSA said in some cases, the outcomes of the processes were completely disregarded by other government entities.

But why would one refuse to undergo such a simple process of checking their background unless they have something to hide?

But judging by the pronouncement by Scopa chair Mkhuleko Hlengwa, those who are refusing to comply will have no place to hide. He said the oversight body will make sure that Eskom complies, adding that vetting was non-negotiable.

Scopa has been demanding the vetting of senior government officials involved in procurement, which amounts to hundreds of billions of rand a year, or the state's supply chain management, for some time now.

The executives and senior officials of all government entities should know that they are not doing the nation a favour by undergoing security screening.

We deserve to know their backgrounds and criminal records.

Surely, no one wants a repeat of what happened to Uyinene Mrwetyana, who was allegedly murdered by SA Post Office employee whose vetting results it later emerged Sapo had ignored and proceeded to hire him despite his criminal record.

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