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Nehawu demands Speaker takes action

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"The speaker has..mislead the public as well as members of the Provincial Legislature for the sake of protecting fraud and corruption"

DEMANDING ANSWERS: Nehawu members yesterday staged a lunchtime picket at the offices of the Provincial Legislature. Picture: Danie van der Lith

MEMBERS of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) yesterday took to the streets to protest against the Speaker of the Northern Cape Legislature and Kenny Mmoeimang’s failure to deal with fraud and corruption allegations against the Secretary and Chief Financial Officer of the Legislature.

Nehawu members yesterday staged a lunchtime picket at the offices of the Provincial Legislature, calling on Mmoeimang to “immediately act” and place the two employees on suspension, pending an investigation into fraud and corruption complaints, reported by the union.

“As Nehawu, we are extremely disappointed by the conduct of the Speaker who is hell-bent on shielding those who have committed both fraud and corruption. A Speaker of a Legislature should behave in a manner that creates public trust and confidence in public representatives and to protect the integrity of the Legislature, thereby giving rise to respect and confidence that the society of the Northern Cape needs to have in the Legislature as a law-making institution.

“Every decision that the Speaker takes must solely be in terms of public interest and without regard to personal, financial or other material benefit to themselves, their immediate family, business partners or friends.

“The Speaker must also promote and support ethical conduct,” Nehawu regional secretary, Thami Mkhila, said.

He added that the Speaker of the Northern Cape Legislature had failed to discharge his obligations in terms of the Constitution and all relevant legislation.

“For the past year the only work that the Speaker has been involved in is to progressively protect fraud and corruption at the NCPL. The Speaker has done this in spite of legal advice that he sought from state attorneys as well as internal legal advice. The reason for the picket is the lack of implementation of the recommendations and findings of the audit committee.

“Nehawu is demanding that the Secretary and CFO of the Legislature be suspended with immediate effect, pending the outcome of the disciplinary hearings,” Mkhila said.

“The Speaker has, on numerous occasions misled the public as well as Members of the Provincial Legislature, for the sake of protecting fraud and corruption. The Speaker is struggling to do the simplest thing that a person in his position is required to do, and that is to investigate fraud and corruption that was reported to him by Nehawu in March 2017 and in September 2017. As early as November 2017, the State Attorney advised the Speaker to investigate these allegations,” he added.

Mkhila added that Nehawu had approached the Northern Cape High Court to seek a declaratory order to force the Speaker of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature to invoke section 67 (2) of the Financial Management of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act.

“We believe that the Speaker does not need any legal opinion in order to investigate fraud and financial misconduct in the legislature,” he said.

Nehawu is also calling for the removal of the Northern Cape Liquor Board CEO.

Union members added that they would “intensify their protest action” by also demanding that the Department of Social Development’s Head of Legal Services and Labour Relations, who has also been embroiled in fraud and corruptions allegations, be suspended.

The members vowed to “not rest” until their demands had been met.

Spokesperson for the Speaker, Mpho Masina, yesterday said that official notification of the protest was only received by the chief of staff at 3pm regarding a picket which took place around lunchtime.

However, Masina emphasised that no formal memorandum was handed over by Nehawu.