MPs livid at ‘labour broker’ being hired for landgrab analysis
MPs question the quality and the credibility of the company
MPs were left stunned after discovering that parliament had enlisted the services of a “labour broker” to sift through hundreds of thousands of written submissions on the issue of expropriation of land without compensation.
MPs made the discovery when service provider Isilumko Staffing presented a report before the constitutional review committee that is considering proposed changes to section 25 of the Constitution on Thursday.
Isilumko Staffing had previously asked for a postponement of such a meeting the week before, claiming it was not ready to make presentations to MPs.
But when they finally made the appearance this week, their report left MPs underwhelmed as legislators from across the political spectrum questioned its quality and the credibility of the company.
DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach said it was suspicious that parliament had hired a recruitment agency to deal with the thorny issue of land.
“It appears to me, having looked at the website of the company, Isilumko, that it is a staffing company. It is a recruiting office. It is not a company that produces reports of this nature,” Breytenbach said.
“This whole procedure to my mind is a little suspect. It’s not their fault, and I am not blaming them. I want to know who in parliament appointed them, I want to know why they were appointed, and I want to know the terms of reference.”
Isilumko told MPs the majority of those who made written submissions had come out against amending section 25 of the Constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation, but this did not impress the lawmakers.
EFF MP Tebogo Mokwele referred to the service provider as “labour brokers”, and said their report “clearly shows that it’s informed from somewhere”.
Isilumko’s representatives, who did not disclose their full names to MPs, were eventually sent packing after several hours of toing and froing.
But ANC MP and committee co-chairperson Lewis Nzimande said the company’s profile was immaterial. “You haven’t tested the quality on its own, irrespective of whether this thing was written by a fisherman, so to speak; it’s immaterial because the mandate for them is to have captured what is in the written submissions.”
Nzimande referred questions on the procurement of Isilumko to parliament’s management.
Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo had already told Times Select in August the company was hired after receiving thousands of submissions.
“Due to the extraordinarily huge volume of submissions [700,000 written submissions] and the importance of ensuring that each and every submission from the public is given deserved consideration by parliament, a service provider, Isilumko Staffing (Pty) Ltd, was appointed to augment internal capacity to assist with analysing the submissions,” said Mothapo, who added the contract was valued at R316,508.75.
Mothapo said the company was 100% black-owned, with 23 years’ experience in data capturing, analysis and consolidation, which were competences and services parliament required from prospective service providers.
“That it also offers recruitment services is not a disqualifying factor,” he said at the time.