Bathabile Dlamini's spokesperson, Lumka Oliphant. Picture: CHESTER RAMULIFHO
Bathabile Dlamini's spokesperson, Lumka Oliphant. Picture: CHESTER RAMULIFHO

The foul-mouthed tirade by Lumka Oliphant‚ the spokesman for the social development minister‚ on her Facebook page is no laughing matter and she should be fired.

Oliphant used her social media account to launch an expletive-fuelled defence of her minister‚ Bathabile Dlamini‚ whom The Citizen had reported looked "unsteady on her feet" at a recent event.

While the substance of her tirade might be the stuff of social media virality‚ it talks to a far more important issue - the disdain that many public officials have for the citizens they are meant to serve.

While Oliphant feels that she can throw vulgarity in the face of South Africans without consequence‚ so too does the errant nurse that orders a severely injured man in a state hospital to change his own dressings. Or the surly Home Affairs official who cannot bother to assist a civilian applying for an official document.

Oliphant’s conduct exemplifies the rot in the public service and spits in the face of her colleagues who truly believe in putting the public first.

But let us put aside for a moment the philosophical considerations of the public servant’s duty to society and count the ways her shameful conduct breaks the written rules.

The Department of Public Service and Administration’s Code of Conduct for civil servants is unambiguous.

It is intended “to promote exemplary conduct” of civil servants while on duty and personally. Those who violate the code are guilty of misconduct.

The code exhorts officials to “serve the public in an unbiased and impartial manner in order to create confidence in the Public Service”.

The Government Communication and Information Service social media guidelines for government communicators also tell Oliphant to be “respectful”‚ “cordial‚ honest and professional at all times”.

Oliphant laughs in the face of these standards. She is quite simply a disgrace to the public service and should have no place in it.

– TMG Digital

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