Public servants urged to serve citizens‚ not politicians


    Respected parliamentary official Ntuthuzelo Vanara has called on public servants to prioritise serving ordinary South Africans instead of politicians.

    “We are parting ways at a critical time. We are almost at the end of the term [of parliament]‚” he began. “I would like to capitalise on the risks associated or opportunities presented by the end of a term when all members of parliament must leave… and for us [officials] to reflect on what we have been doing‚” said Vanara at a function in parliament on Thursday to bid him farewell.

    He said the country had taken a turn for the worse over the past few years and that public officials had facilitated it.
    “The reason we have facilitated the collapse of corporate governance is because we… do not serve the people… ‚” Vanara said.

    “I would like to call on us‚ the officials‚ to tackle this; to take time and reflect going forward. Given the turn of events in our country and given the huge contingent of people who sleep in front of parliament‚ jobless‚ people who see us come here driving big cars and wearing smart suits… are we serving them?”

    Speakers at the event praised Vanara for his dedication to his work.

    Among those who attended were acting secretary to parliament Baby Tyawa and the three bodyguards parliament assigned to protect Vanara when he received threats while acting as evidence leader during last year’s inquiry into state capture at Eskom.

    He thanked the three for protecting him during “the difficult time when I needed people to look after my life”.

    Deputy speaker of the National Assembly Lechesa Tsenoli described Vanara’s departure as “bittersweet” — sweet because he was going to another public sector organisation “badly in need of professional and ethical leadership with integrity”‚ and bitter because he was leaving parliament. Tsenoli was not present‚ but had sent a written message.

    ANC MP Zukiswa Rantho‚ who chaired the Eskom inquiry‚ also sent a written message in which she described Vanara as a good example of a person who would not give in to unethical conduct. “If we could have more of you‚ this world would have been a better place.”

    Besides working as parliament’s senior manager for legal and constitutional services‚ Vanara was also the acting registrar of members’ interests and‚ for the past five years‚ principal executive officer of the Political Office-Bearers Pension Fund.

    Andisiwe Makinana — TimesLIVE

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