Government warned about slew of lawsuits
The warning was issued by PSC commissioner Mike Selloane on Wednesday when he delivered the quarterly report on service delivery during the lockdown in Pretoria on Wednesday.
“The South African government, like all governments in the world, is under immense pressure to respond to the unprecedented challenge of Covid-19.
"While the main spotlight is on the health sector, Covid-19 has disrupted the provision of services, thus calling for humanity, agility and innovative ways to respond to the needs of the citizens without putting their lives at risk.”
He said the lockdown had challenged public servants’ behaviour and attitudes in the manner in which they interacted with citizens.
“The PSC is concerned about incidents of ill-treatment (undue force) on citizens by law enforcement officials during the lockdown.
"Furthermore, the PSC has observed incidences of maladministration and poor service delivery in various places; for example, the challenges of overcrowding in a maternity ward at the Mamelodi Hospital amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the essential need for social distancing as a preventative measure against the virus,” he said.
Selloane highlighted that the allegations of ill-treatment or lack of care for patients who tested positive for the virus at the various hospitals in the country were a cause of concern.
“Such incidents have demonstrated how ethics can be lost when interacting with citizens and are likely to result in litigation against the government, at a huge cost. The value of human dignity, as well as the principle of high standard of professional ethics, should at all times guide the behaviour of government officials when delivering government services,” he said.
Selloane said public servants’ actions and decisions must be premised on the ethical values of responsibility, accountability, fairness and transparency, adding: “Compliance with the law is still peremptory.”