‘Former prime minister interfered’
Speaker Themba Msibi has revealed that the former and now late Prime Minister Dr. Sibusiso Dlamini did not respect the principle of separation of powers.
The late prime minister and presiding officers crossed each other’s paths in a number of instances.
The Attorney General’s Office was asked more than once to provide legal opinion on the principle of separation of powers.
This assignment was finally settled by the incumbent AG Sifiso Khumalo.
Msibi said a lot of their challenges were as a result of the conflict between the duties of the presiding officers and the prime minister being the minister responsible for Parliament.
“As presiding officers we believed in the independence of Parliament, but the actions of the prime minister undermined all that. He imposed the Parliamentary Service Board and interacted direct with the Joint House Committee. His keen interest on Parliament affairs rendered the Parliament Service Commission ineffective and thereby delaying our transformation.
“This meant the long standing issues of staff welfare were unattended because we needed clear terms of services to disengage our staff from the Public Service. “We were unable to do that willy-nilly because our involvement was curtailed through the office clerk who took instructions from somewhere else,” Msibi lamented.
He said in order for Parliament to function in line with the Constitution, there is need to amend the law that gives the prime minister powers to oversee the affairs of Parliament.
“Parliament is not an extension of the prime minister’s office but one of the Arms of Government that should enjoy autonomy.
“We clashed on a number of things with the previous government, including the demand to deliver special messages to the House without properly consulting with the office of the Speaker. “Parliament needs to work with someone who will respect the separation of powers. We will only be in a position to exercise our oversight as the Legislature if the Executive submit to public scrutiny through Parliament,” he said.
Msibi said as a former unionist, he is the last person to undermine workers’ issues.
“I understand the frustration of Parliament staff, but the issue is that we cannot just do things without following proper processes. If people need to be promoted into new positions, we must do so with our conscious clear that those we promote fit the profile of the jobs they are expected to perform. It is not just a copy and paste kind of situation in terms of roles and functions from what they are currently doing. When we create the new posts, it must correspond with the new terms of service. Currently, Parliament Service Commission does not perform its function as hiring is still done by Public Service,” Msibi said.
INTERFERED: The late Prime Minister Dr. Sibusiso Dlamini.