Parliament secretaries in salary shocker

2017-07-02 06:00


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Two secretaries are being paid higher salaries in two key positions at Parliament for work they are allegedly not doing.

The two secretaries are employed full-time as executive secretary and personal assistant to secretary of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Modibedi Eric Phindela, however according to five independent sources and documents seen by City Press they are also “standing in” in senior positions and drawing relevant salaries.

Hanle Kotze would be earning R837 078 as Phindela’s personal assistant but as acting content adviser for parliamentary committees, her salary has been bumped up to about R1m per annum. Phindela’s executive secretary Nompumelelo Barlow (R458 740) is “acting” in the position of editor for NCOP questions and gets paid at R525 027, according to documents seen by City Press. But parliamentary sources claim while there is documented evidence of their acting status, the two are not actually doing the work in the acting positions and that the positions remain vacant. Documents deem both positions as active, vacant and funded.

Parliament has denied that the two secretaries are acting in the more senior positions and dismissed City Press’ questions as “fake news”. Spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said the two women were responsible for supporting Phindela on a temporary basis in his role as the acting deputy secretary to Parliament. He said the two officials are remunerated at the level of their current permanent positions, but were also getting an allowance for taking additional responsibilities: that is supporting Phindela in both his capacities as Secretary to the NCOP and acting deputy secretary to Parliament. Mothapo said their respective job titles remain personal assistant and executive secretary to the Secretary to the NCOP.

One parliamentary document shows that Kotze’s salary band is C3 which comes with a total remuneration package of between R665 652 and R758 609 per annum. It’s not clear why she was earning more than R800 000 as the PA but the two documents differ on her acting current salary band, with one putting her at salary band C4 which can go up to R922 094 per annum while the other shows that she was getting just over R1m.

Kotze has been acting in the position from April 1 and will continue until December 31, the document shows. Barlow’s acting post as editor of questions runs until August 31. Asked how it was possible for the two officials to act in the positions, Mothapo dismissed the question as “a clumsy and ridiculous lie” adding “these people have never acted in the posts you are referring to”.

Barlow refused to comment when asked to confirm whether she was indeed acting as questions editor and referred questions to Parliament. “I don’t see why I should answer that question. Go to HR and ask them for those details,” she said. Kotze refused to comment saying Parliament had responded to the questions.

Sources have claimed that the two women got the acting positions to pay for the extra work they do as Phindela’s assistants in his acting position. The positions of two deputy secretaries to Parliament were created at the beginning of the Fifth Parliament in 2014 as part of the new approved structure, according to Mothapo. He said one of the two posts was filled and was held by Baby Tyawa but the other was never filled, hence Phindela is still acting in it and temporarily supported by same staff in his current post of Secretary to the NCOP.

This comes as Parliament grapples with strategic positions not being filled due to lack of funds. House chairperson Cedric Frolick revealed last month that in total, the National Assembly together with the NCOP have 56 committees and that there was a number of vacancies in the committee section, where there’s a shortage of staff, researchers and content advisers.

“In total, as we have calculated up to today there are 47 vacancies and the pressure on the existing staff is getting so great that a lot of them can’t cope with the additional work that is loaded onto them,” said Frolick during Parliament’s budget vote.

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