DA welcomes finding of Power and Privileges Committee Initiator against former Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula

Issued by Dr Annelie Lotriet MP – DA Deputy Chief Whip
10 Apr 2024 in News

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the recommendation made by the Initiator appointed by the Powers and Privileges Committee, Adv Karrisha Pillay SC, that the former Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, be investigated for contempt of Parliament for allegedly irregularly hiking the salary of the Secretary to Parliament, Mr Xolile George, by nearly 70% shortly after his appointment.

The charges submitted by the Chief Whip of the Opposition, Ms Siviwe Gwarube MP, were initially referred to the Committee by the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Lechesa Tsenoli MP, on 3 November 2023 already. Three months later, on 22 February 2024, the Committee sent an audi letter to Ms Mapisa-Nqakula, who had to submit her response by 4 March 2024. After considering Ms Mapisa-Nqakula’s response, Adv Pillay found on 25 March 2024 – a week before the former Speaker’s resignation – that there is a prima facie case that warrants the Committee’s investigation and a subsequent hearing.

This morning during the meeting of the Committee, the Members of the ANC chose to sustain their culture of impunity and fought to protect the former Speaker and the appointment of Mr George based on a misleading remuneration package. They argued that the Committee does not have the jurisdiction to proceed with an investigation, since Mapisa-Nqakula is no longer a Member of Parliament. We are in the process of considering options in terms of Sections 7 and 8 of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, the Financial Management of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, and the Assembly Rules to take this investigation forward.

Adv Pillay’s finding of a prima facie case to be answered, confirms what the DA has long held – that the former Speaker misled Members of the Assembly when she induced them to endorse Mr George for appointment to the position of Secretary to Parliament at a much lower salary package, and possibly excluding more qualified candidates. The fact that Ms Mapisa-Nqakula resigned before she could be held accountable neither absolves her – and by extension the Executive Authority of Parliament – nor does it get to the bottom of the alleged irregular hiking of Mr George’s salary. Mr George is still serving as the Secretary to Parliament, and the Executive Authority must be held accountable.