Officials ignorant of the law

The Executive Members Ethics Act and the provisions of the Code of Ethics are not being implemented consistently by Members of Provincial Executive Councils (MECs) and the Presidency, says a new report by the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa).

The Presidency promulgates the Code of Ethics. In a nutshell, it requires Cabinet ministers and MECs to regularly disclose their financial interests, business dealings and any gifts they may have received.

The report, Government Ethics in Post-Apartheid South Africa, compiled by the Political Information and Monitoring Service (Pims) of Idasa, was released on Thursday.

The report finds that the dates on which ministers and MECs first disclosed their financial interests vary from province to province. In terms of the code they had to disclose their interests by September 28 2000. Most disclosures were first filed last year. The Northern Cape is the only province that started disclosures earlier (2001), although not within the time limit of the code. The North West only made its first disclosures this year.

“This highlights the fact that all provinces failed to adhere to the provisions of the Code of Ethics 2000. This raises questions about the seriousness with which various implementing offices treat the code,” says the report.

It also points out: “The strength of disclosure laws relies heavily on the extent to which the public can access the records. More often than not, implementing agencies do not have the capacity, resources or time to review the records and establish potential or actual conflicts of interest.

“There are no review mechanisms. This means that after receiving various records the various MEC agencies responsible for implementation could not verify or check disclosed information against members’ activities over the past year or so,” explains the report.

It also hightlights a lack of awareness among government officials about the law. “It is only when the officials are aware of the law and its provisions that they can implement it properly and provide the public with accurate information without hesitation.”

As an example, while the report recognises that members of the Cabinet and deputy ministers disclose information as provided by the Act, Idasa was not able to access the information because of a misunderstanding between the organisation and the Presidency.

After requesting the president and deputy president’s disclosure forms, Idasa was not able to secure copies of the documents. It is still awaiting a response.


The official delegated to monitor Idasa’s review of the disclosure records did not know how the record system operated.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

ConCourt settles the law on the public protector and interim...

The Constitutional Court said it welcomed robust debate but criticised the populist rhetoric in the battle between Busisiwe Mkhwebane and Minister Pravin Gordhan

Small towns not ready for level 3

Officials in Beaufort West, which is on a route that links the Cape with the rest of the country, are worried relaxed lockdown regulations mean residents are now at risk of contracting Covid-19
Advertising

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday