Cape Town - The delay in the appointment of the Secretary to Parliament took a new twist after it emerged that some members of parties did not inform their leaders before the motion was tabled on the agenda of the national legislature.
Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said some of the leaders of political parties raised this issue at their meeting on Wednesday, hours before the motion was discussed in Parliament, that Salga CEO Xolile George was the preferred candidate for the position of Secretary to Parliament.
The position of Secretary to Parliament is equivalent to that of a Director-General in a department and the secretary is the accounting officer of parliament.
Parliament has not had a secretary for almost five years after the axing of Gengezi Mgidlana.
Mapisa-Nqakula said on Thursday she was due to meet with the leaders of political parties on Tuesday.
But she wants the appointment of George to be served before Parliament for approval next Wednesday.
Natasha Mazzone of the DA said she had not informed her leader because of outstanding information from parliament.
This related to the salary structure of the secretary to parliament.
Mazzone was backed by her deputy Siviwe Gwarube, who said they needed more detailed information on the package for the new secretary to parliament.
IFP MP Narend Singh said the issue of George was agreed unanimously by parties.
But the Speaker and National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo were to discuss the salary package and that it should not fall outside the prescribed package by parliament.
“On this matter there are two issues. One is that there was an independent panel that was set up some 18 months ago with independent panellists. The recommendation of that panel was unanimous in that Mr George was number one, and then there was a preferred number two. However, after that the Executive Authority were to have engaged with George in terms of the salary package.
“I think those negotiations took longer than it should have and the panel recommended that the number two person be appointed. Unfortunately the number two person has then been appointed as Director-General of another department within government. The point here is that there was unanimity on the person of Mr George. Secondly, madam speaker, the issue of salaries is prescribed and nobody can work outside prescribed salary ranges. If there is a range, even if it’s a minister or executive authority, the salary package is prescribed and nobody can work out of that,” said Singh.
Mapisa-Nqakula said she will meet with the leaders of political parties again on Tuesday and hoped that this issue will be resolved.
She said it has been almost five years since parliament has been without the accounting officer and the sooner the appointment was concluded, the better.