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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor


Parliament says it can’t probe complaint against Mapisa-Nqakula on secretary’s salary hike

The DA says it will pursue this matter until someone is held responsible for the salary hike.


The Powers and Privileges Committee has claimed to have received a legal opinion from the Parliamentary Legal Services saying it cannot investigate former National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) had laid a complaint with acting National Assembly speaker Lechesa Tsenoli, following last year’s reports that parliament’s secretary Xolile George’s annual salary was increased to R4.4 million.

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The position of the secretary to parliament has a maximum salary of R2.6 million per year.

The DA had laid a complaint with parliament, asking for an investigation into Mapisa-Nqakula’s alleged involvement in the salary hike.

She resigned as National Assembly Speaker and a Member of Parliament (MP) last Wednesday.

However, the DA said the investigation should continue as parliament “is still none the wiser about how a 70% salary hike was approved by the two Executive Authorities”.

“That matter still needs to be investigated and an outcome reached.

“Mapisa-Nqakula remains within reach of the committee as a person of interest in this investigation and her resignation as an MP does not change that.

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“Crucially, if Mapisa-Nqakula is found to have contravened the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act she may be criminally charged – even as an ‘ordinary’ member of the public.

“The Chairperson of the NCOP remains in his position and his role in this salary scandal must also be probed and corrective measures must be put in place.”

Parliament ‘can’t’ investigate Mapisa-Nqakula

However, the Powers and Privileges Committee said on Wednesday that it received a legal opinion from the Parliamentary Legal Services stating that the mandate of the committee, in terms of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, 4 of 2004, extends only to Members of Parliament.

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“Therefore, when a person ceases to be a Member of Parliament, the committee has no jurisdiction to consider a matter related to that person,” it said.

“Since the former Speaker resigned as a Member of Parliament, the committee has no jurisdiction to investigate the complaint by the Chief Whip of the Opposition.”

But the DA is not backing down, as it is in the process of considering options in terms of Sections 7 and 8 of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, the Financial Management of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, and the Assembly Rules to take this investigation forward.

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“The fact that Ms Mapisa-Nqakula resigned before she could be held accountable neither absolves her – and by extension the Executive Authority of Parliament – nor does it get to the bottom of the alleged irregular hiking of Mr George’s salary.

“Mr George is still serving as Secretary to Parliament, and the Executive Authority must be held accountable.”