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More MPs fail to meet deadline to declare financial interests

Parliament: File Photo
Parliament: File Photo

The number of MPs failing to submit their declarations of financial and other interests on time has doubled from 16 in 2016 to 42 this year.

This is according to senior ANC MPs Amos Masondo and Omie Singh‚ who are co-chairpersons of Parliament’s joint committee on ethics and members’ interests.

Masondo and Singh were addressing the media in Parliament during the release of the 2017 register of members' interests.

The register details the financial interests of the more 400 MPs serving in both houses of Parliament (the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces) and the kinds of gifts and other benefits they received outside their remuneration to manage conflicts of interests.

Singh said 42 MPs from the two houses of Parliament had failed to meet the September 2017 deadline for submitting their declarations.

"There we 42 members that failed to meet the deadline date of 30th September 2017 and the committee resolved that the failure to submit by the required deadline is a breach of the code and triggers the complaints procedure.

"Accordingly the implicated members will be given an opportunity to show why they should not be penalised for breaching the code after which the committee will resolve on whether to sanction a member or not‚" said Singh.

However‚ Masondo and Singh have refused to name and shame the delinquent MPs‚ saying doing so would be unfair on them because they are yet to explain their tardiness to the committee‚ although this was previously done by the ethics committee.

"We would rather not talk about names now‚ the reason is that there's now a process in place and that process is that all members would be afforded an opportunity to explain why they have declared late and that entire process will be dealt with at the level of the sub-committee of the joint ethics committee‚" he said.

"No there's total transparency‚ there are not names that are being withheld or information that's being kept away from the public…the reports are tabled once made and once they get tabled those reports become available to the public‚ so there's no withholding of information to the public."

The 2017 register of members' interests shows that President Cyril Ramaphosa‚ among a litany of other financial interests and gifts‚ has declared a R120-million game farming loan account for a company registered as Ntaba Nyoni Estates.

Ramaphosa has also declared "directorships and partnerships" in meat abattoirs and car manufacturers‚ and share trading in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange‚ while he owns 32 townhouses and flats in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane‚ an ordained pastor‚ has declared remuneration earned outside Parliament from the Liberty and Harbourside churches. He also received complimentary accommodation to the tune of R42‚000 from the Fairways Hotel‚ 12 pairs of Nic Harry socks worth R2‚400 and Presidential shirts valued at more than R31‚000 from Desre Buirski.

EFF commander-in-chief Julius Malema has had nothing to declare except his financial interest in his trusts accounts‚ including the famous Ratanang Family Trust.

Deputy Minister of Police Bongani Mkongi received a Johnie Walker Blue Label whisky that cost R4‚412 and a Longines wristwatch valued at R16‚000 from the Embassy of China.

Members of parliament have to disclose their trips, shares and gifts in the annual register of members’ interests. Here are some of the most interesting gifts MPs have received as well as some of the shares and assets they own.

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