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Union wants HOD removed …

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... as well as Hawks to probe R1 million tender for a festival which never took place

Nehawu will embark on a march after their picket. Picture: Soraya Crowie

THE NATIONAL Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) and the Public Servants Association (PSA) will embark on a march to the Kimberley Police Station today calling for the removal of the HOD of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, Ruth Palm.

The marchers will gather at the Kemo Hotel at 7.30am and proceed to the police station in Phakamile Mabija Street from around 8.30am.

During a lunchtime picket yesterday, Nehawu deputy regional chairperson, Isaac Shuping, stated that they would open a charge for the Hawks to investigate a payment of R1 million that was apparently made to a service provider for a festival in Norvalspont, which never took place.

“No tender procedures were followed before the service provider was appointed. The money was paid over to the service provider on December 24, without any services being rendered. Taxpayers’ money is being used to enrich certain individuals,” said Shuping.

He added that they would also approach the auditor-general, the public protector, the Premier’s Office and the Public Service Commission.

“They will be given seven days to respond to the memorandum.”

Shuping also voiced unhappiness over the appointment of the MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba’s brother, who he stated had been employed as a messenger at the department as from August 1.

“He is being provided with accommodation until September 30, where an amount of R30 000 amounts to fruitless and wasteful expenditure.”

The union also cited further complaints regarding the non-payment of overtime, irregular appointments and recruitment processes and the lack of salary promotions.

Spokesperson for the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, Conrad Fortune, advised and encouraged officials to report any allegations involving maladministration and corruption within the department to the relevant authorities within the framework of whistleblowing and corruption policies.

“Once all these practices are reported we will provide our full co-operation during the time of the investigation.

“This investigation will then also prove that the information provided is based on a witch-hunt which is being done to discredit the department in the eyes of the public and the citizens of the Northern Cape, to whom we render efficient and effective services.”

Fortune also slammed the so-called appointment of the MEC’s brother at the department as a “fallacy, mischievous and misleading”.

“The MEC has appointed three officials in her office – a messenger driver, receptionist and cleaner. These were vacant funded posts in the Office of the MEC and the officials were appointed on a contractual basis as per the guidance of the Ministerial Handbook for political office bearers.”

Fortune indicated that the resettlement costs for the official were paid in line with the resettlement costs of the regulations of the Department of Public Service Administration and Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC).

Fortune stated that the MEC had met with the branch executive committee of Nehawu last month. “It is unfortunate that the union has resorted to embarking on industrial action.”