Legislature questioned on employment of dodgy staff

2012-04-12 00:00

AN IFP MPL yesterday questioned the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature about the continued employment of two staff members who previously resigned from the Health Department under a cloud.

Leon Mbangwa, head of communications, and Zenele Ndlela a general manager, resigned from the Health Department in 2008 before facing disciplinary hearings as a result of on-going fraud investigations.

At yesterday’s Finance Committee budget hearing, IFP MPL Roman Liptak queried their employment and asked what progress was being made regarding charges being brought against them. Liptak said the issue had come up at the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

The head of the provinces newly- formed Integrity Management Unit, John Wills was there.

Liptak said the question for the Integrity Unit remains: “Why have they not been charged?”

He said the situation was frustrating as there is an assumption that the people in the Human Resources unit do not know that the employees left another department under a cloud.

“I understand that the problem is that they resigned before they could have their disciplinary hearings and that they have not been charged. We are constantly being told that the investigation is at an advanced stage.”

Speaker Peggy Nkonyeni said she was aware people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. She said the issue of the employment of Mbangwa and Ndlela has been continually raised and was even raised by the Parliamentary executive.

Nkoyeni said it was now 2012 — four years after her two staffers had left the Health Department.

“We are told they might be criminally charged, but they have never been charged. The question I want to pose to this house is are we really expecting them to sit at home? What does the law say? Maybe the honourable members might advise us what to do,” she said.

Finance Committee chairperson Belinda Scott summed up the discussion saying she was aware that the Integrity Unit was looking at what can be done to prevent civil servants who may have left one department under a cloud from hopping to another department.

She acknowledged there were problems such as cases where there have been disciplinary cases before the committee and more than two and half years later the appeals have not been heard. She was hoping these and other issues would be resolved by the Integrity Unity whose brief was to provide strategic leadership to the provincial government on fraud and corruption.

• nalini@witness.co.za

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