It is that time of the year again, when MP’s and MEC’s declare their interests and the gifts that they have received from the previous year. This exercise is governed by the Executive Members Ethics Act(1998) and ‘The Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members’ Interest for Assembly and Permanent Council Members’. The disclosure register is some 323 pages long this year despite the fact that some members are missing from the list.
What is clear from an initial glance of the register is that elected representatives that are in government receive substantially more and valuable gifts than their counterparts who are not in government.
Besides the length of the disclosure register, there appears to be a glaring gap in the Ethics Act, specifically Section 3 of the Act. It outlines the report submission process that the Public Protector must follow once they have completed an investigation into a breach of the ‘Code of Ethics’. This section refers to the complaints involving Cabinet ministers, Premiers, Deputy Ministers and MECs; but does not include a report submission process when the complaint could be against the President.
In view of the recommendations by the Public Protector in the State Capture report and the current legal challenges pertaining to the report it is obvious that this is an oversight by the legislature that must be addressed urgently.
See the full register at: http://www.parliament.gov.za/…/Parliament_of_RSA_2016_Regis….
Ethics Act(1998) at: http://www.gov.za/sites/www.gov.za/files/a82-98.pdf