MAPPP SETA snubs protest action

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Chairperson of the MAPPP SETA (Media Advertising Printing Publishing Packaging Sector Education Training Authority) Martin Deysel was not on hand to receive a Memorandum of Demands delivered by over 150 industry stakeholders who gathered at the SETA’s Johannesburg offices on Friday, 16 March to protest against the suspension of SETA CEO Melanie Bernard-Fryer and alleged financial irregularities.

Says Nicola Rauch, General Secretary of SASFED (South African Screen Federation): “Mr Deysel was made aware in advance of the legal protest action and we requested that he be present for the event. He notified us on 15 March that as both he and Acting SETA CEO Gerhard Kemp had been summoned to go to the Department of Labour on 16 March, he would not be available to accept the Memorandum. The fact that Mr Deysel did not even ensure that Deputy Chairperson Aaron Ntshangase be present at the protest action shows a disrespect for the SETA constituents.’

The industry stakeholders participating in the protest action were drawn from all five Chambers of the SETA (ie. the media, advertising, publishing, printing and packaging industries).

Rauch says that although the turnout could have been bigger, those people present were enthusiastic and committed. “There is a seven-day deadline attached to the Memorandum, which calls for the immediate reinstatement of Melanie Bernard-Fryer and for the dissolution of the current SETA board. We will keep the industry informed of all future developments’.

The Memorandum of Demands states:

We, the undersigned, demand under the Skills Development Act, The Public Finance Management Act, The Promotion of Access to Information Act, The Employment Equity Act and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, specifically the Bill of Rights that the following actions are taken within 7 days:

The Chief Executive Officer of the Media, Advertising, Print, Packaging and Publishing Sectional Education Training Authority, Ms Melanie Bernard-Fryer shall be re-instated without prejudice and protected on a 24-hour per day basis until further notice, paid for by the SETA

The current Chairperson of the Authority, Mr. Martin Deysel shall be removed from office

The current Accounting Authority and Executive Committee shall be dissolved

The Minister of Labour shall put the SETA under administration within 72 hours and appoint an administrator by the end of business on Friday 23rd March 2007

The administrator shall prioritize the writing of a new Constitution that would see a full restructuring of all governance structures, the equitable representation and treatment of all 7 chambers of the SETA, the supremacy of accountability and transparency and the creation of systems to monitor these structures

The Minister shall order a full, independent forensic investigation of the entire operations of the MAPPP SETA since its inception

No further payments shall be made to the Cross Media Training College until all investigations are complete and any payments made in the last 60 days shall be repaid to the SETA

The grievances of the MAPPP SETA staff shall be resolved and no further harassment of the staff shall be instigated or tolerated.

The Auditors who were engaged to conduct forensic audits of the CreateSA project (Grant Thornton et al) shall immediately hand over all the results of such an investigation to the National Prosecuting Authority, as is their duty under law, regardless of what payment has or has not been made.

If these demands are not met by midnight on Thursday the 22nd March 2007, a campaign of rolling mass action will be undertaken by our organisations and all their affiliates.

See full report in the April issue of Screen Africa.

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