MTPA strike detrimental to Mpumalanga Tourism

By Anthony Benadie MPL, Leader of the Official Opposition:

Note to Editors: The following member’s statement was delivered in the Mpumalanga Legislature today by Anthony Benadie MPL.

Hon. Speaker;

The DA notes with concern the recent protest action taken by more than a 100 employees of the Mpumalanga Tourism & Parks Agency. Reports state that the disgruntled employees downed tools on Monday morning because the Agency had failed to pay their salaries. What is more unfortunate is that this is not the first time employee salaries have been delayed.

Hon. Speaker, how is it that government contracts workers to do a job, they do the job, and then they don’t get paid. This situation is rather baffling as we are only 2 months into a new financial year and already MTPA is experiencing financial difficulties. The MEC of the parent department (DEDT) has not even tabled his department’s budget, yet the entity is already experiencing financial woes.

Hon. Members, this is a red flag that could be indicative of further financial difficulties to come. The MTPA, under suspended CEO Mr Modipane, was actually on a trajectory towards managerial and financial improvement, but since the new MEC came into office, those gains are seemingly being reversed.

For MTPA to succeed, we need a strong and capacitated managerial team. A team that will not succumb to political pressure, but one that will be guided by the relevant legislation.

Hon Speaker, this strike undoubtedly has detrimental consequences for tourism in Mpumalanga. As such, the DA calls on MEC Kholwane to get his house in order, put the correct systems in place, and ensure MTPA fulfils its important mandate of Tourism Marketing and Biodiversity Conservation.

Most importantly, the MEC must ensure that all monies owed to staff are paid and that measures are in place to ensure that such an incident does not occur again.

I thank you.