Protest against legislature ‘favouritism’

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Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Legislature staff affiliated to the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) are expected to picket outside the provincial parliament on Monday, demanding the institution’s human resources manager be axed.

They claim the manager showed favouritism and flouted rules when employing interns, some of whom are said to be related to MPLs.

“There are at least six interns there who are children of MPLs,” said Nehawu provincial secretary, Zola Saphetha.

While there is no policy which prevents the relatives of MPLs from being hired as interns, Nehawu believed that proper recruitment procedures were not followed.

The union wants a clear policy on how interns are hired at the legislature.

Saphetha claimed there were interns who had been with the legislature for more than three years.

“We have been engaging with the legislature on this matter since last year, but we have not had any success. We even said that in the absence of policy at the provincial legislature, they should use the national policy which governs such things because no one can be an intern for three years.”

An official who works at the legislature, however, said it was untrue that some interns had been there for three years.

He said only interns attached to the finance unit were given extensions of three months last year because the finance management system was being changed.

All had now left, said the official who cannot be named.

Nehawu on Sunday warned that if its demands were not met, its members at the legislature would embark on a strike.

The pickets come at a crucial time in the legislature’s calendar. Premier Senzo Mchunu will deliver his State of the Province address on Thursday. On Wednesday, King Goodwill Zwelithini is expected to formally open the House.

A group of interns have taken the legislature to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration demanding to be fully employed.

Sizwe Mchunu, the leader of the DA, raised a motion on this matter at the last sitting of the legislature, calling for an investigation. Legislature spokesman Wonder Hlongwa said Nehawu’s allegations would be investigated. The legislature had contingency plans to ensure that the opening of the legislature was not disrupted, he said.

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