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October 28 2013

Employee Background Checks: No One Should Be Precluded

"The widely reported Gauteng Police Commissioner appointment blunder has left the South African Police Service (SAPS) red in the face. Or has it? National Police Commissioner, Riah Phiyega announced Major General Bethuel Mondli Zuma as Gauteng Police Commissioner in August, but withdrew it just two hours later, when it emerged that he had a case pending against him. Zuma faces four counts for allegedly trying to evade a roving anti-alcohol patrol in 2008. These include failing to stop when ordered, drunk driving, attempting to escape from custody, and defeating the ends of justice. Phiyega has said she was not aware of the criminal investigation against Zuma and amidst calls from the DA for her resignation, the National Commissioner is sticking to her guns, saying the appointment was only provisional. This incident once again highlights the critical importance of pre-employment screening and background checks. ""It was not deemed necessary to conduct a detailed search, particularly noting that the people being promoted or transferred are senior executives, who are loyal and hardworking career police officers, well respected and had established relationships of trust with the SAPS,"" said Phiyega. ""In the case of Major-General Zuma, at the very least, requisite background checks aside, he should have been frank with me. That is why I was so disappointed."""