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PSC boss allegedly hired his mistress as ethics official

Public Service Commission (PSC) director-general Dovhani Colbert Mamphiswana. Picture: Facebook

Public Service Commission (PSC) director-general Dovhani Colbert Mamphiswana. Picture: Facebook

Published Jan 27, 2020

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Public Service Commission (PSC) director-general Dovhani Colbert Mamphiswana, the champion of government integrity, allegedly chaired a panel which recommended the appointment of the mother of his child as a senior government official.

The woman, who cannot be named to protect the child’s identity, was appointed as the chief director for profession ethics in the PSC and started in her new position on December 1, 2019.

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Mamphiswana, who is said to have failed to recuse himself from the process, refused to answer questions on Friday.

“I don’t want to respond to issues about my private life to the media,” he said when asked to confirm or deny whether he has a child with the woman in question.

And when asked whether or not he chaired the interviewing panel that recommended her for the position, Mamphiswana responded: “I am not going to talk about matters of PSC to the media.”

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His alleged mistress, with whom he had a child seven years ago, failed to answer calls about her appointment this week.

The PSC has over years investigated government officials facing similar allegations and recommended their dismissals from public service. Those who faced the wrath of government rules and regulations include:

A senior official from the department of education in Limpopo who sat on an interviewing panel that recommended the appointment of the mother of his child. He failed to recuse himself from the process;

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A senior department of home affairs official based at head office who approved the appointment of his fiancée even though he didn’t sit on the interviewing panel. It was reported as a case of conflict of interest since the official also failed to recuse himself from the process;

Another department of home affairs official was fired as a director from their Giyani office in Limpopo after she appointed her sister;

An official from Limpopo department of sport arts and culture was dismissed also for appointing a relative, and

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Another official from the same department was forced to resign while under investigation for favouritism after he appointed a person he used to work with in one of the municipalities.

Sunday Independent this week spoke to the whistle-blower who reported Mamphiswana to the PSC on December 11 last year.

The whistle-blower said that the complaint was submitted to PSC deputy chairperson, Ben Mthembu, in writing.

“I placed it under his door as an anonymous whistle-blower and also sent him an email this January.

“The public expects the Public Service Commission to lead by example in the fight against unethical behavior and discourage the practice of nepotism and related corruption and now its director general has done the opposite.”

The whistle-blower added that

Mamphiswana had not been investigated after the official complaint

because “he is untouchable as he is politically connected”.

“As an employee of the PSC and having conducted and attended interviews, I know that the PSC, in its interviews, enquires from candidates if there is anything in their personal and official lives that may cause embarrassment to the commission, but Mamphiswana and his mistress didn’t disclose their relationship.”

The commission’s mission statement “is to promote the constitutionally enshrined democratic principles and values of the public service by investigating, researching, monitoring, evaluating, communicating and reporting on public administration”.

PSC spokesperson Humphrey Ramafoko on Friday claimed the commission has not yet received the complaint against Mamphiswana even though the Sunday Independent brought it to the commission’s attention last week.

Sunday Independent established that five candidates, including Mamphiswana’s alleged mistress, were interviewed at the PSC offices in Pretoria on October 23 last year.

Another source inside the PSC claims that this wasn’t the first time Mamphiswana “has done favours for this woman in the public service commission.”

“Mamphiswana also chaired another interviewing panel that interviewed this woman in 2012 at the same time she was pregnant with his child. She was later appointed as our provincial director in the Free State. She gave birth around February 2013,” the whistle-blower said.

Sunday Independent has seen a home affairs application form in which the woman registered their child as Mamphiswana’s flesh and blood born out of wedlock.

The commission issued a fact sheet on irregular appointments in the public service in February 2016. It urged the government to guard against the contamination of recruitment processes of public servants.

The report stated that one of “the problems that can taint the selection process is that, certain influential people might already have their preferred candidate they wish to hire, either a friend, relative, or friend or relative of someone they have a specific relationship with.

“A specific example of the above is the finding in the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) case whereby the Chairperson of the Board is alleged to have ordered that the qualification requirements for the appointment to the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO) be altered to remove academic qualifications as previously advertised in order to accommodate a particular employee who did not possess any qualifications for the post.”

Sunday Independent

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