Convicted killer gets top prison job
Cape Town -
The DA has questioned the vetting of Correctional Services staff after it was reported that a convicted killer had been appointed as a senior official.
Correctional Services deputy commissioner of employee relations Lucky Thekisho - who was appointed in June last year - was jailed in Kimberley in the late 1980s for stabbing a man to death.
He received a presidential pardon, but his record should have disqualified him from working for the department, according to its regulations.
DA spokesman on correctional services James Selfe said on Monday he would ask Correctional Services Minister S’bu Ndebele what steps had been taken to improve the vetting of officials, especially as the department’s annual report for 2010/11 had revealed that 40 286 Correctional Services personnel did not have security clearance.
This meant only 6.1 percent of the department’s staff had been vetted at the time.
“The department has a considerable problem with appointing personnel who do not have the necessary security clearance,” Selfe said.
Thekisho - who earns R845 000 a year - reportedly omitted the section requiring him to list any criminal records during his application.
The Sunday Times reported that another 20 employees in KwaZulu-Natal had been dismissed by the department between 2008 and 2009 for not disclosing that they had criminal convictions.
The department’s chief deputy commissioner for human resources, Teboho Mokoena, told the newspaper the claims against Thekisho were being investigated.
He said the allegations were being taken seriously, but the probe into the matter would take a while.
Asked whether Thekisho had been granted a presidential clearance which would enable him to work for the department despite his record, Mokoena said he was not able to respond to all the queries immediately.
Selfe said he would be submitting parliamentary questions to Ndebele to determine why Thekisho had not completed a competency-based assessment.
He would also ask whether Thekiso had obtained security clearance before being appointed and what steps the department was taking to improve the vetting system.
He would also ask whether the department would continue to honour Thekisho’s contract. - Cape Argus