The National Education, Health, and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) has welcomed the news that the national legislature’s secretary would face disciplinary action.
Gengezi Mgidlana is on special leave, which he himself requested in July, after the union demanded a probe into him. Parliament’s presiding officers appointed an audit committee to investigate allegations of, among others, an ex gratia payment to himself of R71,000, the improper allocation of a study bursary and irregular procurement of services.
“While the union welcomes the part of Mgidlana being taken to a Disciplinary Hearing, the union believes Mgidlana should be suspended immediately because he has already been paid for sitting at home while he was on the so-called special leave,” Nehawu said in a statement.
Parliament has given Mgidlana a week to state why he should not be suspended pending the outcome of his disciplinary hearing. Nehawu rejected this.
“Now that the report has established prima facie grounds, the union see no reason why he should be given seven days within which to respond. Therefore, the union calls for his immediate suspension,” the statement said.
Nehawu workers went on strike in 2015 over salary hikes and issues around bonuses. During the strike they levelled several accusations at Mgidlana – including the allegations probed by the audit committee. They accused the presiding officers, National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise, of protecting Mgidlanda at the expense of workers.
The union now wants to see the audit committee report to check whether all allegations against Mgidlana was probed.
“If the latter is true, the union will ask the Office of the Public Protector to investigate such, in accordance with the case the union lodged.”
In a media release, Parliament said its presiding officers had received the audit committee report and decided the allegations were of such a serious nature that it warranted a disciplinary inquiry.
“Consistent with the principles of natural justice, the Secretary to Parliament remains innocent until proven otherwise by a due process – which the Presiding Officers hope will be conducted and concluded without delay,” Parliament’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said.