Parliament charged by own security head

2015-12-03 14:37

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Cape Town - Suspended head of protection services, Zelda Holtzman, has laid charges against Parliament for allegedly breaking its own rules during an investigation into her deputy and herself.

Holtzman's attorney, Sageer Pansari, said Parliament was supposed to use the State Security Agency (SSA) for its investigations, but instead used a private company, Foresight.

Pansari said Parliament was obliged to use the SSA because it is a national key point where many staffers have high level security clearance, he explained.

Holtzman laid a complaint that referred to the alleged use of the private company with details of the incident.

Her attorney said they have proof on a letterhead that the company in question was appointed by Parliament. "They were not entitled to do that," said Pansari. "Why are the SSA not conducting it?"

The charges are in respect of the National Strategic Intelligence Act and the Regulation of Interception of Communications Act.

Who should be held accountable?

In a separate matter, their disciplinary hearings are set down for December 8 to 10 after the two were suspended in July.

The pair were suspended in a row over changes to security during a heady year at Parliament. Holtzman had reportedly resisted placing plainclothes police officers in the National Assembly to remove rowdy MPs.

She had also questioned why the Parliamentary Protection Services should have to make one of its cars and a driver available for the use of Parliament's secretary, Gengezi Mgidlana.

Pansari said the Directorate of Priority Crimes would decide whether to proceed, and if so who should be held accountable - the secretary of Parliament Mgidlana, or his deputy, Baby Tyawa.

Hawks spokesperson, Hangwani Mulaudzi, confirmed that a case had been opened and they received the docket from Western Cape police on Wednesday.

Investigations would start soon.

This case has parallels with a case against Western Cape Premier Helen Zille who has been accused by the African National Congress of using a private company instead of the SSA to debug the offices of the Democratic Alliance when she was still its national leader.

Parliament's Nehawu members are also up in arms over plans to re-vet them, saying they were not consulted.

Read more on:    cape town  |  parliament 2015

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