THE NATIONAL Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has condemned alleged practices of nepotism, maladministration and victimisation at the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature.
It has also called for the removal of senior officials who allegedly gave themselves massive salary increases.
Nehawu regional secretary, Thami Mkhila, stated that one official had awarded himself a massive increase after being promoted.
“An amount of R116 301.87 reflects as leave payout, as if he had resigned from the employment. He also paid himself another amount of R92 106.26 in the form of leave payout. These payments were approved, although they do not comply with the policies of the legislature nor any legislation,” said Mkhila.
He added that following a job evaluation, the official received an even higher salary.
“The Speaker approved it even though he was cautioned by the rules committee not to approve this salary increase. All these activities were reported to the Speaker but nothing happened as there were no investigations conducted. Instead, the Speaker requested evidence from the union, as per the advice of the secretary of the legislature.”
Mkhila also said that the candidate who was appointed to the position of corporate services executive manager did not meet the requirements and did not possess the necessary experience.
“This person was appointed in an acting position, until he accumulates enough experience in order to qualify for the job, and is receiving his basic salary and an acting allowance. Meanwhile, someone else was appointed to fill his position in supply chain management. This means that the legislature was paying two salaries for the same position, to an amount of R1.1 million to each incumbent.”
He added that an employee from the auditor-general’s office had been awarded an auditor position at the legislature, although the vacancy should have been filled by an internal staff member.
“At some point this supervisor from the auditor-general’s office formed part of the audit team that awarded the legislature a clean audit outcome.
“The position of finance manager was given to someone who did not even apply for the job.
“The union is of the view that the position was awarded in exchange for a clean audit outcome that is not a true reflection of the audit report of the legislature.”
Mkhila urged the Speaker to appoint an independent audit committee.
“We believe that the systems of internal control were not effective for that financial year – ending March 31 2016 – due to non-compliance regarding payment to the suppliers, suspense accounts that were not cleared and cash balances that include transactions that are older than three years that were never cleared.”
He added that a questionable amount of R525 947 was debited from the account of the legislature, where it was claimed that it was an error by Sars.
“To date this deduction has never been recovered, as it was deducted during the 2015/16 financial year end. The auditor-general never queried the deduction with Sars because it was paid as a penalty for non-compliance with tax legislation.”
Mkhila stated that employees were victimised if they wanted to join a union or participated in union activities.
“A member of the union was victimised and charged for misconduct. A chairperson was appointed to adjudicate the disciplinary hearing, without any fee to the legislature.
“Before the hearing started, the chairperson, who had advised the employer to follow certain requirements of the Labour Relations Act, was removed without any reason.
“Another chairperson was appointed, at a cost of R93 990 to the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature, to dismiss the union member. This amounts to fruitless and wasteful expenditure.”
IT’S ALL UTTER NONSENSE, SAYS PROVINCE
THE NORTHERN Cape Provincial Legislature secretary has denied that he has employed any friends at the legislature.
In response to allegations of nepotism levelled by Nehawu, Secretary to the Legislature, Patrick Moopelwa, stated that proper procedures were followed in the recruitment and appointment of staff and acting appointees.
“The secretary does not have ‘friends’ at work since his relations at the workplace are deemed to be of a professional nature.”
Moopelwa stated that the corporate services manager held a Masters degree and also had more than 10 years of management experience in the legislature.
“Additional to that, one of the two employees is registered for a PHD and the other one has a law degree.”
He added that it was “practically impossible” to pay two people with one salary.
“Each funded position in the legislature is allocated a budget. Therefore the acting executive managers are paid from the budgets of those respective positions. The complainant seems to have a limited understanding of what fruitless expenditure is.
Moopelwa also stated that no one was awarded a position in return for a favourable audit outcome.
“For the past few years the legislature has been successful in reducing the number of issues raised in the auditor-general’s report. A year prior to receiving a clean audit only one matter was raised by the auditor-general. The Office of the Auditor-General is an independent chapter nine institution. The Office of the AG has systems in place to verify the credibility of their audits.”
He said that a considerable number of positions within the legislature had been upgraded, subsequent to an evaluation involving a scientific work study and the approval of the new organisational structure.
“It is a lie that the Speaker was warned by the rules committee not to implement the increase.”
Moopelwa pointed out that no employee at the legislature was able to award themselves leave payouts.
“It is common practice in the institution that when employees resign and are appointed into higher positions the leave they have accrued is paid out to avoid increasing institutional leave liability.”
He indicated that the Speaker had responded in writing to the concerns raised by Nehawu.
Moopelwa added that a lawyer was appointed to preside over a disciplinary hearing in terms of the disciplinary policy.
“The appointment of a lawyer does not amount to fruitless and wasteful expenditure as proper procurement procedures were followed. The required service was rendered. The employee who was found guilty of a number of serious charges has appealed his dismissal and it is currently being considered by the appeal authority.”
He denied that any union member was victimised.
“In the event of such occurrences, employees are encouraged to make use of the internal grievance procedures to air their grievances.”