XASA COMES UNDER FIRE: DAILY DISPATCH

SPEAKER of the Provincial Legislature Fikile Xasa has come under fire from an opposition MPL for allegedly misleading the public.

A war of words has broken out between transport portfolio committee member Veliswa Mvenya and Xasa, with the DA’s Mvenya accusing Xasa of being “economical with the truth”, while Xasa says Mvenya wants special treatment.

The row is over a battle with 78 provincial traffic officers who say they are owed millions in salary adjustments by the transport department.

The officers argued they were placed on the wrong salary scales when they moved from under the old Transkei administration in 1996 to the Eastern Cape provincial government.

Mvenya wrote to Xasa advising him of the department’s failure to implement a resolution taken on June 23 this year by a sitting of the legislature to pay the officers within 30 days.

Xasa told the Daily Dispatch he had responded to Mvenya that a report from Transport MEC Thandiswa Marawu, as per house rules, did provide reasons for the department’s failure.

Mvenya yesterday denied getting such a letter from Xasa, and accused him of misleading the public through the media.

Xasa in turn accused Mvenya of legislature rules and misunderstanding processes.

“We did pass a resolution and it did go to the department, and it was answered. That answer was forwarded to the committee,” Xasa said. “Mvenya is out of order because she knows internal processes. She is an MPL, and a member of the committee. These issues should be dealt with internally, by following processes. She has no right to engage me outside of the committee.

“There will be no special treatment for her. She will get the responses at the committee. I asked [chief parliamentary officer Herlu] Smith to forward [the] report to the committee.”

Transport spokesman Ncedo Kumbaca confirmed that the department had written to the speaker’s office to explain its failure to pay the officers. Smith could not be reached for comment. — sabelos@dispatch.co.za