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Parliament suspends head of human resources

Parliament on Tuesday suspended its head of human resources while she is being investigated for a number of allegations, including nepotism.

The Mail & Guardian has seen a letter from Parliament to the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), which states that Parliament’s presiding officers – speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete and chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Thandi Modise – agreed that human resources manager Ntombekhaya Manyela would be granted “special leave pending the outcome of an investigation into these very serious allegations”.

This comes after week-long picketing by about 1 000 Parliament staff, who have accused Manyela of corruption and nepotism and called for her head.

“While these allegations are serious, we believe that Ms Manyela must be given an opportunity to respond to the allegations which will form the basis of the investigation,” wrote Mbete and Modise.

Nehawu announced on Tuesday that it was suspending its pickets and that all its members will participate fully in making President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address “a resounding success”.

Not qualified
The M&G is in possession of an auditor general report dated June 4 2014, which reveals that Manyela was not qualified for the position. The report states that during the audit of appointments, the job advertisement for the position of the human resources executive was inspected and found that the minimum required qualification was an honours degree in behavioural sciences or organisational psychology.

“However, it was found that Ms Manyela was appointed although she did not have the minimum required qualification of honours degree in behavioural sciences or organisational psychology.”

It found that Manyela had a bachelor of arts degree in personnel management in comparison to a Mr KL Diamond, who had honours in administration and master’s of admin in industrial psychology degrees.

In the report, the auditor general warned that because the person more qualified for the position was not appointed, it could be “non-compliance with the recruitment policy”.

Nehawu said: “We believe that this swift action by the presiding officers and our suspension of the pickets are a great tribute to the fallen servant of the people, cadre of our movement, Mike Coetzee. We also call on all our members to participate and do all that they can to make sure that the State of the Nation address tonight is a resounding success.”

Nehawu said it was looking forward to further engagement with the Parliament management to address outstanding matters, including:

  • The withdrawal of the unlawful and unfair dismissal of staff in the offices of the speaker of the National Assembly and the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces; 
  • Investigation of unbridled abuse of power by some senior managers, which has caused many workers to suffer trauma and depression; and  
  • Banning the use of labour brokers and outsourcing of services such as cleaning and catering to private companies.

Parliament spokesperson Luzuko Jacobs had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publishing.

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