MPs give Parliament's 'most corrupt thug', secretary Mgidlana, the boot

2019-10-17 20:26
Gengezi Mgidlana. (Supplied)

Gengezi Mgidlana. (Supplied)

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Both houses of Parliament unanimously adopted a motion to give the legislature's corruption-accused secretary Gengezi Mgidlana the boot.

This brings to an end a two-year ordeal during which Mgidlana still received his salary.

He was placed on voluntary special leave on June 9, 2017, after the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) levelled allegations of corruption against him.

Nehawu had accused Mgidlana of receiving an ex gratia payment of R71 000, irregularly awarding himself a study bursary over junior staff, and following improper procurement processes.

He faced charges relating to the breach of legislation on the financial management of Parliament and provincial legislatures, the breach of parliamentary policies as well as the breach of the National Road Traffic Act.

On February 1, 2018, disciplinary charges were served on Mgidlana. The disciplinary hearing was scheduled to start on February 12 that year.

The disciplinary inquiry found Mgidlana guilty of seven of the 13 charges and on August 30, 2019, the chairperson of the disciplinary hearing recommended his summary dismissal.

On September 11, National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces (NCOP) chairperson Amos Masondo reported the disciplinary hearing's outcome to the joint standing committee on financial management of Parliament.

READ MORE: Summarily dismissed: Speaker accepts recommendation against secretary of Parliament, Gengezi Mgidlana

Both houses of Parliament first had to approve Mgidlana's "summary dismissal", and this happened on Thursday when the National Assembly unanimously adopted a motion to that effect, and all nine provinces in the NCOP did the same.

Speaking in the National Assembly, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen lauded Modise and Masondo who recommended Mgidlana's dismissal despite his contract expiring at the end of November.

"There is a quote that says: 'It's never too late to do the right thing.' This is the right thing," Steenhuisen said.

He, and several other MPs who spoke on the matter, noted the importance of Parliament as a bulwark against corruption and having to hold itself to a high standard on this matter.

Making full use of parliamentary privilege, EFF MP Veronica Mente described Mgidlana as the "most corrupt thug who came to enrich himself".

IFP chief whip and long-serving MP Narend Singh pointed out that it was the second time that Parliament had removed its secretary.

"There mustn't be a third time," he said.

Several opposition MPs also reportedly said Mgidlana enjoyed protection from the Fifth Parliament's speaker, Baleka Mbete, and cited him as an example of cadre employment.

UDM MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa recalled how he wrote a letter to Mbete with the allegations, and when he raised the matter in Parliament's budget vote debate in 2016, she "exonerated" Mgidlana.

He also recalled how parliamentary workers "were beaten up outside" when protesting against Mgidlana during a Nehawu strike in 2015.

ACDP MP Steve Swart said further steps should be taken against Mgidlana to recover "his ill-gotten gains".

ANC deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude made a similar remark and also condemned corruption.

However, she said it was not a matter of cadre deployment or the dragging of feet to get rid of Mdgidlana, but one of following the correct procedures.

Read more on:    parliament
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