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Committee on labour not shielding minister, says chairperson

Committee on labour not shielding minister, says chairperson

The Portfolio Committee on Labour has dismissed claims made by one of its members, Mr Ian Ollis of the Democratic Alliance, that it is shielding the Minister of Labour, Ms Mildred Oliphant, from accounting for the “damning” findings of a forensic report about what happened at the National Development Labour and Economic Council (Nedlac) while Mr Herbert Mkhize was CEO.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Ms Lumka Yengeni, said the Committee will not be drawn into an exercise of politically castrating the Minister, as it had not seen the report. “The Committee has no information on this matter and has not seen the report. Thus it cannot summon the Minister to Parliament to account for something Members, except one, do not have content of,” Ms Yengeni said.

“Members should work towards gaining the confidence of the public and the media, and should not be providing misleading quotes and sound bites out of what was agreed on in Committee meetings,” she said.

Mr Ollis has accused the Committee of protecting the Minister by not inviting her to Parliament to account for the employment of Mr Mkhize, as her advisor, following a forensic report, commissioned on financial irregularities at Nedlac while Mr Mkhize was CEO.

Ms Yengeni said both Nedlac and officials from the Department of Labour will be called to brief the Committee on the contents of the report in April. Only if the explanation is unsatisfactory can a determination to invite the Minister be made.

In the meantime, the Committee resolved that the forensic report be solicited for Members. “Manipulation of journalists through providing unverified damning information can never solve the challenges state entities are confronted with. The Portfolio Committee does not want to deal with rumours, gossip and speculation based on media reports,” Ms Yengeni said.


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