Johannesburg - A Parliamentary committee has raised its concerns about the long delays in the ongoing disciplinary action taken against the institution’s secretary, Gengezi Mgidlana.
The joint standing committee on financial management of Parliament broke its silence on Mgidlana’s suspension in its “legacy report”, where it highlights work done between 2014 and 2019.
The committee, which is co-chaired by Dr Mathole Motshekga and Joel Mohai, said it had noted the suspension of Mgidlana after several allegations were levelled against him.
“The (committee) has also noted with grave concern the long delay in the finalisation of the disciplinary proceedings, and has serious concerns about the prolonged process, especially given the financial impact the long delays have had for the institution,” Motshekga and Mohai said.
Parliament initially granted Mgidlana special leave in June, 2017 while allegations levelled against him by the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union were investigated by an independent audit committee.
Mgidlana was only placed on suspension with benefits in November, 2017 after an independent audit committee completed an investigation into allegations of administrative irregularities against him.
At the centre of the allegations was that Mgidlana irregularly received an ex gratia payment of R71 000, improper allocation of a study bursary, improper travel management and irregular procurement of services.
Motshekga and Mohai said at the time of drafting the report that the disciplinary hearing was not finalised.
They recommended that the next Parliament be kept abreast of the disciplinary hearing and that it should be concluded as a matter of urgency.
In their report, Motshekga and Mohai observed that strained labour relations had characterised most of the term for the fifth Parliament.
They said they noted with concern the deterioration of relations between employees and the employer.
“While labour relations improved dramatically in the last two years of the fifth Parliament, the high number of resignations and the tragic passing of a senior manager in September point to a working environment that remains hostile.”
Motshekga and Mohai said Parliament’s administration should conduct a review of its labour relations and recommend ways in which the work environment could be improved.
“The matter should receive serious attention to ensure that the challenges experienced in the fifth Parliament are not repeated in the sixth.”
They also said the person hired by Parliament to manage labour relations and promote constructive relations between employees and employers should have the necessary skills and experience.
The committee also noted that the constituency offices were not adequately monitored.
“This has made it impossible to confirm whether the offices exist as indicated, where they exist and whether they are operational.”
They said the constituency offices, which were funded by Parliament, could be underused.