You must commend me, Dina Pule tells MPs

2013-06-04 16:32

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The communications department has its house in order and is not dysfunctional, Communications Minister Dina Pule has said.

She told Parliament’s communications portfolio committee this was happening despite her “difficult” relationship with director-general (DG) Rosey Sekese.

Pule said she was awaiting legal advice from the public service and administration department on how to act against Sekese.

“This morning I spoke to the lawyers, and what they advised us is that before Friday they will give us the legal opinion on how we should take the matter forward.

“We’ll be waiting for them between tomorrow and Friday, and we will then advise the committee on the steps we will be taking,” the minister said.

Sekese was placed on special leave in December last year after MPs complained she lied to them by claiming a performance contract between the DG and Pule was signed, when it fact there was no such agreement between the two.

She returned to office in April after a labour court ruling in her favour.

Since then, Pule has stripped her of her powers with regard to human resources, prompting Sekese to use this as an argument for not appearing before Parliament’s appropriations committee last week.

ANC MPs today said they had been left embarrassed by the move.

DA MP Arron Steyn criticised the minister after she informed them she hardly saw Sekese, adding mandatory executive management meetings were not being convened by the DG.

“The minister herself doesn’t know what’s going on ... so it is of grave concern that we have a DG that, via the courts, has been instructed to go back and fill that position and is in fact not doing it,” Steyn said.

Pule dismissed this claim.

“On the contrary, I understand very well what is happening in the department.

“Actually, you must commend me for (being) able to present a budget speech without the DG’s participation, which shows I understand what I’m doing,” Pule fired back.

Pule said she had seen very little of Sekese since she returned to her position.

“I don’t know whether she’s in the office or not.

The only time I realise she (Sekese) is in the office is when I see documents coming through which are signed by her, but face to face I haven’t seen her, so it’s kind of a difficult situation,” she said.

According to Pule, Sekese had twice gone on leave since being reinstated and “disappears from time to time”.

Steyn blamed the minister for not keeping Sekese on a tighter leash.

“I’m a little concerned, minister, that you don’t seem to be firm enough and you’re leaving her to her own devices, letting her come in or not come (in to the office),” Steyn said.

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