NEHAWU CALLS ON SCOPA TO PUNISH NORTHERN CAPE LEGISLATURE SECRETARY FOR MISLEADING IT

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) calls on the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) and the Standing Committee on Premier’s Affairs and Legislature to punish the Northern Cape Legislature Secretary for misleading them in March 2021.

Mr Patrick Moopelwa misled both committees by claiming that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation DPCI informed them that the matter is nolle procequi (meaning it is not prosecutable) because there were no signs of fraud or any wrong doing.

Yesterday, a delegation led by the National Office Bearers (NOBs) of NEHAWU visited the DPCI offices to receive an update on the progress on the investigation on the case opened in 2017 against the Northern Cape Legislature. Indeed, a team led by the Provincial Head of the DPCI in the province briefed the delegation of the union about the four cases that two cases are nearing completion for prosecution while the other two are still being investigated. These cases include the non-pensionable allowance to the Secretary to the legislature, the leave pay-out of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), abuse of the credit card of the legislature and the fraud and corruption associated with the renovations of the legislature precinct.

Furthermore, we call on SCOPA to force Mr Moopelwa to reveal who told him that the cases are not prosecutable at the DPCI and NPA. Moreover, we will be writing to SCOPA to ask to present our own evidence. We continue to hold a strong view that corruption and the misuse of public funds must be uprooted at all material times, hence, we are willing to pursue this matter until those found to have transgressed are punished thoroughly so as to send a clear message to others that corruption will never be tolerated nor will it ever thrive under our watch.

The delegation of NEHAWU also met with both the leadership of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) to discuss a dedicate and vigorous campaign around this matter and the political interference that seeks to derail this process. We are elated to have the support of these structures and we are even more encouraged and inspired to pursue this matter to its finality.

On OHS matters

The delegation of NEHAWU also received a briefing from the branch leadership on the unsafe state of the building and the exorbitant funds used to try and fix the problems. The building continues to pose health and safety hazards to our members and workers because of low hanging electric wires, smelly carpets and the leaking roof.

The management does not seem to have a plan in place to provide a safe working environment for our members and workers. In this regard, we will demand that the Department of Employment and Labour send inspectors to inspect the building for health and safety hazards and punish the employer accordingly.

On sexual harassment

We are dumbfounded that the legislature has no sexual harassment policy 27 years since the dawn of democracy. This is shameful considering that the legislature is an institution of policy and law making yet it does not have an important policy that seek to protect women in the workplace from sexual predators as a necessary instrument constituting an integral part of the broader transformation of society. At worst, those found guilty of sexual harassment are given mild and moderate form of punishment while others are regarded as untouchables given their political allegiance to those holding strategic positions of authority in the institution. In this regard, we wish to warning and call on the legislature both the political and administrative components to remedy this situation as a matter of urgency before we render the institution unworkable or ungovernable.

The delegation was further briefed about the three on going cases of sexual harassments and abuse at that workplace. As NEHAWU, we will do our best for the victims to receive justice including organising psychosocial interventions which they desperately need. 

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968; December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969; Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU National Spokesperson) at 082 455 2500 or email: khaya@nehawu.org.za