New permanent Secretary to Parliament to be announced in April

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The new permanent Secretary to Parliament will be announced early in April.

Parliament has been without a permanent secretary since 2019.

The institution says the filling of the position is currently underway, and is on the priority list of the Executive Authority.

Following the dismissal of former Secretary to Parliament, Gengezi Mgidlana in 2019, his deputy, Baby Tyawa has been acting in that position.

National Assembly sacks Gengezi Mgidlana:

Before she left, former National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise, said a suitable candidate had been found.

But to date, no appointment has been made.

Parliament spokesperson, Moloto Mothapo says, “Parliament first had to conclude the disciplinary matter of the former secretary to Parliament before initiating the process of filling the vacancy. Due diligence and thoroughness in this regard had to be done due to the strategic and critical nature of the post. It is inevitable that this combination of factors which cannot be side stepped, will affect the turn around time.”

Meanwhile, political parties have weighed in, saying this kind of situation leads to instability and a lack of accountability.

“I think it is outrageous that we have been sitting all this time. Mr Mgidlana has been gone [for] almost two years, and a large part of the problems that Parliament is facing is because we do not have a leadership in the organisation. Parliament should have had a permanent secretary the minute Mr Mgidlana left,” says Democratic Alliance leader, John Steenhuisen.

Inkatha Freedom Party’s Chief Whip, Narend Singh says the announcement must be made as soon as possible.

“Not having a permanent secretary certainly impact on the functioning of Parliament. We just hope in the same manner the President [Cyril Ramaphosa] announced the [appointment of the new Chief Justice] Raymond Zondo, National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula will make the announcement sooner rather than later.”

Nehawu unhappy with delays

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union, (Nehawu) which organises Parliamentary workers, says it is not happy with the delay in the appointment.

Nehawu’s branch Chairperson, Sthembiso Tembe says this month marks one year since the interview process took place.

“We call upon the presiding officers to fill this position as a matter of urgency. Our preference is the preference of the panel. The panel recommended Mr Xolile George as the best candidate, and we support the recommendations because we were part of the process.”

“Mr George performed better than the rest. If we look at his track record, what he has done in the South African Local Government Association (Salga). If Parliament appoints him, they would have appointed the best candidate.”

Parliament has stressed that even while this post has been without a permanent appointee, the work of Parliament has been continuing.

Another critical position that is yet to be filled at the institution, is that of the head of Parliamentary security.

This position has been vacant since Zelda Holtzman left in 2017.