ANC welcomes probe
Cape Town - The Office of the ANC Chief Whip has welcomed Parliament's decision to investigate its secretary for allegedly using R186 000 of the institution's money to build a wall around his property.
"We agree with the presiding officers that as an important branch of our constitutional system, any accusation relating to the institution assumes special significance due to its role in our society and democracy," it said.
"Therefore, the presiding officers' swift decision to subject these claims to a formal probe is commendable.
"This augurs well for transparency and accountability that the institution normally expects of those it oversees."
In a statement on Saturday, Parliament said its presiding officers had noted with serious concern reports on an advance salary payment made in December 2011 to the Secretary to Parliament, Zingile Dingani, for the construction of a security wall at his home.
"The presiding officers have taken a decision to refer the matter for investigation to the Auditor General.
"If it was to be (found) that such an investigation is outside of the Auditor General's scope, the Public Protector will be requested to take the investigation up under the auspices of her office," Parliament said.
It would also be referred to the parliamentary oversight authority, which is mandated to oversee finances and administration.
According to the Sunday Times, Dingani was given permission for the advance by Speaker Max Sisulu after a security assessment of his home.
When Sisulu discovered there was no proper policy on securing the homes of senior managers, he demanded that Dingani repay the money and an arrangement was made for him to repay the amount in monthly instalments of R10,000.
However, his December instalment was refunded to him. Dingani earns R1.8m a year.
In 2009, a senior management meeting, chaired by Dingani, agreed that financial assistance to parliamentary staff, including loans, be stopped.
"We urge all stakeholders to respect the fact that the Secretary to Parliament remains innocent until proven otherwise," the Office of the ANC Chief Whip said in its statement.
"The Office of the ANC Chief Whip is of a view that for this activist Parliament to stay true to its objectives, it needs not only public representatives who are dedicated, selfless and hardworking, but it also requires parliamentary systems and support structures that are efficient, effective and accountable."
Democratic Alliance deputy Chief Whip Sandy Kalyan said the investigation should determine how Dingani got the money "given that he does not hold a position that has a high security risk."