Nehawu raises alarm over vetting process at Parliament

2015-10-23 17:02
File: AFP

File: AFP

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Parliament came under fire yesterday when one of the country’s biggest unions, Nehawu, insisted on answers about the security clearances that parliamentary employees are being subjected to. 

The union also wanted to know who had ordered that five employees be provisionally suspended. 

The union met senior members of Parliament on Wednesday to discuss employees’ concerns about “security clearance and other issues”. 

Gengezi Mgidlana, Parliament secretary, who has been at the centre of the storm that has erupted over security clearances, was absent. 

Stembiso Tembe, Nehawu chairperson at Parliament, said the union expected answers to the issues they raised by next week. 

“Decisions were made without informing us. We had to hear it from alerts and from the media.” 

He said Nehawu received many complaints and questions from employees. 

“We couldn’t answer any questions, because we ourselves did not know. This is the kind of thing that creates suspicion and creates fears of a witch-hunt.” 

Parliament has repeatedly rejected claims of a witch-hunt and said it had received no complaints from staff or the union. 

Nehawu has now officially complained to Parliament on how this process had been handled. 

Tembe said the union’s members were deeply concerned. 

He added that the “clumsy” way in which Parliament recently dealt with the suspension of five employees, was also cause for concern. 

Parliament announced the provisional suspension of five employees in a short press release. 

“By announcing their suspension in the media, it looks like provocation and an attempt to embarrass the workers. It also affects the credibility of the process.” 
He said it gave the impression that Parliament already believed they were guilty. 

According to the statement, the five were provisionally suspended pending an investigation into alleged irregularities in procurement matters. 

Tembe added that it was unnecessary to call parliament’s security to “physically escort the employees from the parliamentary precinct”.

Read more on:    nehawu  |  parliament  |  vetting

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