Nehawu welcomes precautionary suspension of Baby Tyawa

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The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) in Parliament says it welcomes the precautionary suspension of Deputy Secretary of Parliament’s Support Services Baby Tyawa by the new Secretary to Parliament Xolile George.

Nehawu has been calling for her precautionary suspension since mid-January pending an investigation into the cause of the fire that gutted the National Assembly and the Old Assembly buildings in the beginning of the year.

Parliament says George suspended Tyawa after commissioning an independent investigation following allegations of irregularities into the institution’s administration which was brought to the attention of George by Parliament’s Audit Committee.

The institution says the Executive Authority of Parliament has also requested an investigation into the security breach and subsequent fire on the second and third of January.

Tyawa was the acting secretary to Parliament when the fire gutted the two buildings.

Parliament’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapo says the decision to place her on precautionary suspension is meant to allow the investigations to be undertaken unhindered

“The STP (Secretary to Parliament) is required to provide the necessary support to the investigators, and employees who are required to assist the process will be identified during the course of the process. It is important to appreciate that no person or persons have as yet been identified as at fault , or complicit in any of the alleged transgressions. Any actions taken by the secretary to Parliament in pursuance of the process will be to ensure that the investigation proceeds unhindered.

“In this regard, the deputy secretary for support services, Miss Baby Tyawa, has been placed on a precautionary suspension pending the finalisation of the investigation. The decision does not in any way imply guilt on her part. All efforts will be made to ensure a timeous conclusion of the process to guard against any aspersion being cast against affected parties. Parliament’s commitment to good governance, accountability and professionalism within its administration remains unwavering. To safeguard the integrity of the process, Parliament will not offer further public comment on this process until its finalisation,” adds Mothapo.

Nehawu is ready to submit evidence during investigation. Nehawu Chairperson in Parliament S’thembiso Tembe says Tyawa’s precautionary suspension is long overdue.

“We are happy about the suspension of Miss Tyawa. So that the investigation into the fire that ravaged Parliament could be conducted unhindered. It has always been our submission that Parliament was burned and destroyed because of the decision of the management which was led by Miss Tyawa at the time. The removal of the protection services of Parliament on public holidays and weekends came as a result of the instruction and directive of the management of Parliament and that issue is in black and white.”

“We have that particular issue and we stand ready to submit this as evidence. And that follows a number of reports that have been compiled. One of them was compiled by an independent assessor who came to Parliament to assess the safety and suitability of Parliament buildings,” explains Tembe.

Tembe says historic buildings cannot burn without consequences saying the assessors had already identified safety problems with the previous fire that broke out in Parliament.

“The report identified a number of issues that Parliament management would address. One of them was the fact that the smoke detectors were not working. Sprinklers were not working and so many other things. But in addition to that report of the independent assessor, our internal staff who work in the She Unit in Parliament are dealing with the safety of buildings in Parliament also submitted a number of reports identifying issues of concern.”

“More especially following the fire that broke out in Parliament previously which did not cause so much damage because the Protection Services was there. So, those particular employees of Parliament compiled the reports which were not acted upon. Therefore, we put the blame on the doors of the management of Parliament. And we are concerned that this decision took so long to be taken. A building such as that, a historic building, a building that is important to the democracy of our country cannot just burn without the consequences.”

Tembe has described the suspension of Tyawa as “just the tip of the iceberg”. He says Nehawu wants to see the suspensions of more people within the management of Parliament.

He claims that the union has made a detailed submission to George calling for various investigations to unfold, including a probe into alleged financial misconduct.

The video below is reporting more on the fire incident: