THE National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union has upped the stakes in its members’ impasse with the Secretary of Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana by resolving to call on Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to investigate him.
Provincial and regional office bearers told media during a briefing in Cape Town on Monday that Mgidlana had not taken the union’s demands in Parliament seriously, and that he left them no choice but to make Parliament ungovernable.
Nehawu and the management of Parliament have been at loggerheads over Parliament’s failure to implement an agreement signed in December, following a strike which saw Nehawu bring the work of portfolio committees in Parliament to a standstill.
Provincial secretary Eric Kweleta told reporters that belligerence on the part of Mgidlana and "deafening silence" on the part of the ANC has pushed the union to call on the Public Protector to investigate the secretary of Parliament.
"We will be handing over a memorandum at the provincial office of the Public Protector to investigate Gengezi Mgidlana. We are demanding that his expensive trips, first class flights, expensive hotel stays with his wife be investigated. The Public Protector must also investigate the relationship between Mgidlana and the presiding officers," said Kweleta.
Last month, it was reported that, in four months, Mgidlana spent over R134,000 on high end hotel stays, chauffeur services and expensive travel with his wife at taxpayers’ expense.
Kweleta said following a breakdown in consultation, the union would begin planning rolling mass action, which would include daily marches to Parliament. The union started lunch time pickets last week.
"As the leadership in the Western Cape we have mobilised our structures as regional leadership and provincial leadership to mobilise Western Cape branches to march to Parliament on a daily basis until the management agree to address the acrimonious state of affairs," he said.
For all the ire aimed at Mgidlana for his management of the labour issues in Parliament by Nehawu and opposition parties, it is, in fact, high ranking members of the ANC Parliamentary caucus who make up Mgidlana’s most ardent defenders.
Ekapa South Regional chair Xolani Mdoda dismissed claims that the ANC was indifferent or, in part, responsible for the manner in which Parliament had neglected the union’s demands. He said the union would continue supporting the ANC in next month’s local government elections.
"Our position is to support the ANC in the local government elections as an affiliate of Cosatu (the Congress of South African Trade Unions). This attitude of Mgidlana is delaying us in our ability to campaign for the ANC. We find ourselves marching back to Parliament when we should be focussing our energy on campaigning," said Mdoda. He also sought to dismiss claims that Nehawu has been captured by reactionary forces.
The union marched to the provincial offices of the Public Protector to hand over its memorandum demanding an investigation.