Ollis ‘castrating’ Oliphant: committee

FILE PICTURE: Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Parliament’s labour portfolio committee on Friday dismissed the claim that it is shielding Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant from the findings of a forensic report.

Committee chairwoman Lumka Yengeni said she would not be drawn into fellow committee member Democratic Alliance MP Ian Ollis’s exercise of “politically castrating” Oliphant, as the committee had not seen the report. “Thus, it cannot summon the minister to Parliament to account for something members, except one, do not have content of,” she said.

She was responding to Ollis’s claim that committee members actively blocked DA attempts on Thursday to call Oliphant to account for the “corruption scandal” at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).

He said it was the third time Yengeni had refused such a request.

According to Ollis, an independent forensic report found that former Nedlac executive director Herbert Mkhize and Nedlac’s ex-CFO Umesh Dulabh fraudulently and illegally enriched themselves with almost R2 million of Nedlac funds.

“The minister [Oliphant] has had this report in her possession for more than two years, but has taken no action in this regard.”

He said he would table the forensic report at the committee’s next sitting, “leaving the chairperson and the ANC nowhere to hide”. Yengeni said Ollis should not be providing misleading quotes and sound bites out of what was agreed on in committee meetings. She said both Nedlac and labour department officials would be called next month to brief the committee on the contents of the report.

If their explanation was unsatisfactory, the committee could then decide whether to invite Oliphant.

“Manipulation of journalists through providing unverified damning information can never solve the challenges state entities are confronted with,” Yengeni said.

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