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New rules for govt jobs: ‘Do you have any pending criminal case against you?’

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The version of the form currently in use has a single, yes-no question about previous trouble:

From 1 January, applying for a government job in South Africa will come with some detailed – and pointed – questions.

That includes whether those seeking employment face “pending” criminal cases, and whether they intend to “immediately relinquish” business interests that have dealings with the state.

The standard Z83 form, required from applicants for state employment, previously promised to take into account crimes or previous dismissal from employment only where relevant.

 

From 1 January, applicants for jobs within the South African government will have to answer a new set of standard questions on their dealings with the state – and the criminal justice system – before ever being considered.

 

And they will no longer be told that criminal records may not matter.

Public service and administration minister Senzo Mchunu on Friday gazetted a new version of the government’s “Z83 (Application for employment)” form, the starting point to gain employment in the civil service, which will be in effect from the start of 2021.

 

A section on personal information has been significantly, and pointedly, extended.

The version of the form currently in use has a single, yes-no question about previous trouble: “Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offence or been dismissed form [sic] employment?” A footnote immediately reassures applicants that the “information will only be taken into account if it directly relates to the requirements of the position.”

The new version uses a different layout and smaller font to cram in demands for much more detailed information.

New questions applicants must answer include:

  • “Have you been convicted or found guilty of a criminal offence (including an admission of guilt)?”
  • “Do you have any pending criminal case against you?”
  • “Have you ever been dismissed for misconduct from the Public Service?”
  • “Do you have any pending disciplinary case against you?”
  • “Have you resigned from a recent job pending any disciplinary proceeding against you?”
  • “Are you conducting business with the State or are you a Director of a Public or Private company conducting business with the State?”

Those who indicate business dealings with the state have an extra yes-no question to answer, on whether they will “immediately relinquish such business interests”.

Those previously dismissed from public service, or who resigned before disciplinary hearings, are told it will only count agains them “if it directly relates to the requirements of the position”.

But criminal records, and pending matters, will be considered in terms of internal security and disciplinary codes, the new form says.