Ntuthuko not guilty of contempt of Parly
LOBAMBA – Minister of Public Works and Transport, Ntuthuko Dlamini, has been found not guilty of contempt of Parliament by not expelling the Royal Swazi National Airways Corporation (RSNAC) Board.
This decision was reached by the Parliamentary Select Committee which probed the failure of the minister to comply with the House of Assembly resolution to expel the Board last year November.
The report on this matter was tabled in the House of Assembly yesterday.
It is however yet to be debated and or adopted by the House.
Dlamini had been tasked with firing the Board for its alleged mismanagement of the parastatal’s funds.
To be found not guilty, therefore, means that the minister would no longer be prohibited from con-ducting his ministry’s official business in Parliament.
When the prohibition was still in order, the minister was not allowed to speak in the House on any matter that involved his ministry until the above-mentioned probe had been completed and tabled.
The minister was effectively ‘away’ from Parliament for about five months.
He mostly relied on other Cabinet ministers to conduct business on his behalf.
Meanwhile, the report mentioned that the Select Committee in its investigations found that the minister initially thought that it was going to be an easy task to dismiss the RSNAC Board within 48 hours.
"This move would have not only been un-procedural but also illegal according to Section (6) of the Public Enterprises Act 1989," stated the report.
Section (6) of the report stipulates that: "except in the case of the University of Swaziland, members of the governing body of each category ‘A’ public enterprise, other than the Chief Executive Officer, shall be appointed by the minister responsible in consultation with the Standing Committee and in making the appointments he shall ensure that an overall balance of technical, professional, commercial and financial skills is maintained on the governing body, and shall endeavour to ensure that, in the interest of continuity, not all the members of the governing body shall be retired at the same time."
Another finding was that the minister was aware that the Board violated the Public Enterprise Unit (PEU) Circular No.2/2009 when holding 28 meetings. The response of the committee on this was that the Circular had been contravened.
The Circular stipulates that the Board should hold their normal meetings once a quarter or four times in a year. Extraordinary meetings should be held where there is an emergency, but not on a regular basis.
Furthermore, the minister had also argued that the dismissal of the Board would have jeopardised cases in the courts against some members, however, the Select Committee, in the report felt that these members would still have assisted even if they were dismissed.
Lastly, the Committee noted that the minister tried to update the House about his failure to fire the Board, but was not given the chance. The Committee felt that he showed respect to the House nonetheless.
Select Committee accused of feeding nation half-truths
LOBAMBA – The Parliamentary Select Committee which investigated the RSNAC Board last year has been accused of feeding the public with half-truths.
This was the observation of the Select Committee, which probed the failure of Minister of Public Works and Transport, Ntuthuko Dlamini, to comply with the House of Assembly resolution to expel the Board.
"It is regrettable that the findings of the committee were based on misinformation with the sole purpose of finding fault and tarnishing the image of the Board members," alleged the committee in the report tabled yesterday.
It added that it was unfortunate that the Board found itself accused of violating the PEU Act.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament (MP) Patrick Gamedze, who chaired last year’s Select Committee, when reached for comment took exception at this, but said the House was yet to debate the new report to find out which half-truths it was refering to.
Refer RSNAC Board matter to Disciplinary Tribunal
LOBAMBA – The Select Committee has recommended that the Minister of Finance, Majozi Sithole, should refer the matter of the RSNAC Board to the Disciplinary Tribunal.
The report said this was in line with Section (21) of the Constitution Act 2005 which is about the right to a fair hearing, and Section (33) which is about the right to administrative justice.
This is also in accordance with Section (11) of the Public Enterprises (Control and Monitoring) Act 1989.
An excerpt of the PE Act, section (11): Disciplinary Tribunal states;
1. There shall be established a Disciplinary Tribunal consisting of;
(a) a Chairman who shall be a Senator or a Member of the House of Assembly; but who shall not be a Cabinet Minister.
(b) Two persons who shall be members of the Senate or House of Assembly; but not Cabinet Ministers.
(c) Two other persons all of whom shall be appointed by the minister in consultation with the Standing Committee.
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