Public Service Commission condemns flouting of COVID-19 protocols during recruitment at Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Memorial Hospital

24 March 2021

The Public Service Commission (PSC) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has noted with concern the outrageous incident that occurred during the recruitment of nurses at Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Memorial Hospital in KwaMashu on Tuesday (23 March 2021), where a large number of potential recruits gathered at the Hospital for the evaluation test, which resulted in the flouting of COVID-19 protocols. Government has continuously reiterated that large gatherings are supper-spreaders of COVID-19 and must be avoided.

While it is important for the KZN Department of Health to begin with the recruitment process towards the opening of the Hospital, it is equally important that the process followed is done in an ethical and safe manner that will not put the lives of the applicants at risk. The PSC views this incident as inhumane and would like to remind that all state institutions have a duty to safeguard the dignity and health of South Africans as outlined in the Bill of Rights, Chapter 2, section 10 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, which reads as follows, “everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected”. It therefore, cannot be acceptable that the flouting of COVID-19 protocols be overlooked at the expense of safety, dignity and livelihoods of vulnerable human beings.

In the wake of the pandemic, the Department should consider other safe methods of recruitment such as conducting interviews virtually or the use of District offices where small numbers of applicants can be processed in a safe and controllable manner.

South Africa is currently in the grip of a second wave of the pandemic, with daily cases continuing to rise, therefore, any event that has the potential to increase the number of infections should be avoided. The Constitutional Values and Principles calls for “a development-orientated public administration”, which should be creative and innovative in delivering services to improve the lives of citizens. In light of the “new normal”, it is important that government departments find other creative and innovative ways, through the use of technology, to deliver services to the people including internal processes such as selection and recruitment.

The PSC has started the process of engaging the KZN Department of Health with the view to suggest innovative ways relating to the recruitment of staff in light of the 4th Industrial Revolution and will continue to monitor this process.

Enquiries: Pumziwe Kwanini - 083 791 3701

Issued by the KwaZulu-Natal Public Service Commission

National Anti-Corruption Hotline: 0800 701 701



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