Bhengu will know ethics ruling soon
THE parliamentary ethics committee will announce next week whether ANC MP and chairwoman of the portfolio committee on transport Ruth Bhengu's negotiations with a national taxi representative body over an oil deal was not a conflict of interest.
The committee instructed Bhengu in February to explain her meetings with now fired South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) president Jabulani Mthembu and its general secretary Philip Taaibosch in which she intended to sell them crude oil through her company - Riblore 22 CC.
Ethics committee chairwoman Fazela Mohamed confirmed the committee was investigating the matter.
"Yes, the matter is before the committee (ethics). We cannot divulge details at a moment, but the committee is to make a pronouncement in about two weeks," Mohamed said last week.
The portfolio committee that Bhengu heads plays an oversight role over transport matters, including regulations affecting the taxi industry. Santaco receives 100% funding for its projects from government.
She has stood firm in her stance that there was nothing wrong with her discussing the deal with senior Santaco executive members.
"The deal was between Riblore 22 CC and certain individuals in Santaco, not me and Santaco Trading Company (Santaco's business wing). The ethics committee is investigating me to establish if there was a conflict of interest, and I am waiting for its findings," Bhengu said.
The negotiations on the deal stalled after a disgruntled former Santaco employee, Stanley Seiti, blew the whistle on the negotiations.
Mthembu was fired three weeks ago after auditors, Tayfin Forensic and Investigative Auditors, found he had claimed close to R1-million over four years for a guesthouse in Pretoria that was actually his private property.
Tayfin's investigator Mahier Tayob said Bhengu's negotiations with Mthembu form part of four other allegations currently investigated against Mthembu. - email@example.com