A conflict of interest

MINISTER of State Security Siyabonga Cwele must do the honourable thing and step down from his position as political head of the intelligence services as a result of his wife Sheryl being arrested and charged with dealing in drugs.

MINISTER of State Security Siyabonga Cwele must do the honourable thing and step down from his position as political head of the intelligence services as a result of his wife Sheryl being arrested and charged with dealing in drugs.

It is a time-honoured requirement that not only Caeser should be beyond reproach but so, too, should his wife. As matters stand the Cwele household is living under a very dark cloud.

According to the Hawks, Sheryl Cwele employed women as drug mules, sending them to Brazil under the pretext of getting them short-term jobs. She has been remanded in custody and will only be able to apply for bail on Friday.

We disagree with some opposition parties that the minister be brought before Parliament to establish whether he, too, is implicated.

If such an inquiry is to be held it should be the province of the law-enforcement agencies with the requisite capacity of establishing same. As it is, Parliamentarians - with a few notable exceptions - have not covered themselves with glory when it comes to executing their main mandate, which is to oversee the work of the executive.

Cwele must step down not because he is necessarily guilty of any crime. But as head of state intelligence it is inevitable that Cwele will have access to the state's case against his wife. Regardless of how he reacts, he is clearly an interested party in the case

It is not often that we will have a clearer case of conflict of interest than this one.

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