Mapisa-Nqakula must be investigated over Secretary to Parliament secret R4.4 million salary scandal

Issued by Siviwe Gwarube MP – Chief Whip of the Official Opposition
08 Oct 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached a soundbite by Siviwe Gwarube MP.

Revelations that the Speaker of the National Assembly, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Amos Masondo allegedly misled Parliament over the salary of the Secretary to Parliament should be urgently investigated.

The Sunday Times has revealed that despite the position of the Secretary to Parliament being priced at a maximum of R2.6 million, the incumbent, Mr Xolile George earns over R4 million. This is almost double what Mapisa-Nqakula personally committed to in the National Assembly when the appointment was made, and the decision was brought before the House.

The Executive Authority (both the Speaker of the NA and the NCOP Chair should both be investigated for misleading Parliament.

The DA will be lodging an urgent complaint with the Powers and Privileges Committee to investigate the Executive Authority for this breach of their oath of office and the betrayal of the principles of transparency and accountability.

There are glaring breaches of their Code of Conduct, Code of Ethics for Members of the Executive Authority and their responsibility for the financial management of Parliament by both Mapisa-Nqakula and Masondo. More importantly, they have violated the trust that is placed on them to act in the best financial interest of an institution that is battling to fulfil its constitutional obligations due tight financial constraints.

These breaches include:

  • Contravention of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliaments and Provincial Legislatures Act. By misleading Parliament and the various committees that are meant to hold them to account, Mapisa-Nqakula and Masondo clearly interfered with the oversight function of Members of Parliament by secretly negotiating a R1.8 million salary hike with Mr George after the House had adopted the resolution of his appointment with his salary pegged at R2.6 million.
  • Additionally, should the position have been openly advertised without any backroom deals, Parliament could have attracted a wider pool of candidates. Hiking the salary 3 months after the appointment suggests that this was a deal cooked to mislead Parliament and pay George over R4m. Additionally, one can assume this was done to exclude other competent candidates from the recruitment process.
  • In terms of the Financial Management of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, the Executive Authority is expected to act in accordance with the Code of Ethics (and Code of Conduct) when accounting for the sound financial management of Parliament. It can be argued that this secret salary deal is in direct contrast to that requirement.
  • The Code of Ethics for Members of the Executive Authority places additional responsibilities on the Executive Authority to act “in a way that will bear the closest public scrutiny, an obligation that is not discharged by simply acting within the law”. This has not been done. Instead, the salary negotiations post the appointment point to premeditated misleading of the public and Parliament.

Parliament is facing a massive challenge of not having premises following the devastating fire that gutted it two years ago. To rebuild this institution will require a Secretary to Parliament and an Executive Authority that is committed to the healthy financial management of Parliament.

The allegations that now face Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula and Chairperson Masondo suggest that they are not suited for the task ahead. They have not conducted the recruitment of the Secretary to Parliament in an open and transparent manner. Instead, these allegations demonstrate that they actively sought to mislead Parliament.

This is why they must both be urgently investigated and this matter publicly scrutinised. Parliament is the institution that is meant to hold government to account.

The actions of the Speaker do not instil any public confidence and now cast doubt on the institution’s own financial management.

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