DA demands access to Audit Committee report on Secretary to Parliament

The Democratic Alliance has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, demanding that the Audit Committee report detailing the investigation into suspended Secretary to Parliament, Gengezi Mgidlana, be made available to members of the Joint Standing Committee on the Financial Management of Parliament.

In May 2017, I submitted documents to the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to assist her investigation into the serious allegations of maladministration and abuse of power levelled against Mgidlana. These documents revealed how Mgidlana had, amongst others, irregularly used a state vehicle fitted with blue lights; had parliamentary staff chauffeur his wife; and conducted overseas trips, with his spouse, amounting to nearly R2 million.

While Mgidlana has been on “special leave” since 9 June 2017 and was in November formally placed on precautionary suspension pending the finalization of disciplinary proceedings against him, the Audit Committee report has not yet been made public. Despite this, on Thursday 16 November 2019, it emerged that the Standing Committee co-chair, Vincent Smith, had received a copy of the report.

There is a clear, legal duty to provide the report to the members of the Standing Committee. Section 49 of the Financial Management of Parliament Act (10 of 2009) is explicit on this matter – it states:

“If the audit committee becomes aware of information implicating the Accounting Officer in fraud, corruption or gross negligence, it must report this promptly to the Executive Authority and the oversight mechanism.”

The fact that only one member received the report is inappropriate and fatally irregular as it undermines well-established parliamentary procedure on handling documents considered confidential.

In my letter to the Speaker, I have demanded that each of the members of the Standing Committee immediately be provided with a copy of the report on condition that it be treated as confidential.

Mgidlana has been allowed to mismanage Parliament for far too long – we look forward to studying the findings of the Audit Committee report and taking decisive action.

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