Regulations on gifts riddled with loopholes

Ido Lekota

Ido Lekota

The present rules guiding the acceptance of gifts by politicians are not sufficient and should be strengthened to ensure that public officials avoid any abuse of office.

This is the view of Dr Alli Mashuq of the Unisa school of philosophy in Pretoria.

Mashuq was responding to the saga around Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele, who received a R1,1million Mercedes-Benz S500 as a gift from Vukuzakhe contractors.

These contractors benefitted from an emerging contractors' programme for road construction that Ndebele set upwhile still KwaZulu-Natal MEC for transport.

Ndebele has written to President Jacob Zuma for advice. This is in terms of the rule pertaining to MPs who receive a gift of more than R1000.

Mashuq said it was "unethical" for Ndebele to accept such an excessive gift considering his public responsibility as a government official.

"His [Ndebele's] gift exceeds any limits of legitimate acceptance It in fact amounts to bribery," he said.

Ndebele has since returned the gift.