'Your business is our business'

The African National Congress has yet to decide on the fate of senior MPs, including chief whip Mbulelo Goniwe, who were last week found guilty of failing to disclose their interests to Parliament.

Last year, the ANC’s national executive committee warned its public representatives in national, provincial and local government that “failure to adhere to ethics codes will result in internal disciplinary procedures in terms of the constitution of the ANC”.

The warning came after Parliament’s joint ethics committee found Minister of Defence Mosiuoa Lekota guilty of not disclosing his fuel distributorship and wine businesses in May last year. Lekota, who admitted the non-disclosure, but ascribed it to an oversight, was subsequently docked a week’s salary by Parliament and fined R5 000 by the ANC after an internal disciplinary hearing.

Asked whether the party will take disciplinary steps against the guilty MPs, ANC spokesperson Smuts Ngonyama this week said the party will decide on a course of action after receiving a report from Parliament.

The report found that senior ANC MPs, including three deputy ministers, failed to disclose their directorships. They were fined between R1 000 and R4 000 each.

African Christian Democratic Party leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe was also found guilty of failing to declare his interest in a transport company and was fined R1 000.

The Mail & Guardian first exposed the MPs’ undisclosed interests in September. The committee began its investigation in the same month. It tabled its findings at the sitting of the National Assembly last Friday.

The findings include:

  • Mbulelo Goniwe, ANC chief whip, has interests in Ubunye Construction and Gwebindlala Fishing. The committee found him guilty of failing to disclose his interests in both companies and fined him R2 000. In his response to the committee, Goniwe said both companies are dormant.

  • Lulu Xingwana, Deputy Minister of Minerals and Energy, was fined R1 000 for failing to disclose her directorship of City Cat Trading, which trades as Lebone La Sechaba.

  • Ngoako Ramatlhodi, former premier of Limpopo, failed to declare his directorships in Platinum Mile Investments, Afflux Trading and Michmel. He was fined R3 000. The report says Ramatlhodi defended his non-disclosure by saying that the companies were dormant and that “he forgot to disclose”.

  • Roy Padayachee, Deputy Communications Minister, was fined R4 000 for failing to disclose his interest in Satellite Accounting and Secretarial Services, Satellite International Insurance Brokers and Financial Accountants and Satellite International Property Developers and Estate Agents. He also did not disclose Treveni Trading. Padayachee said he was under the impression that the companies were deregistered.

  • Nonkumbi Gxowa, ANC MP, failed to disclose her directorship of Chirmat and was fined R1 000.

  • Nomatyala Hangana, Deputy Minister of Provincial and Local Government, has been director of Balsbas Management since 1999, but has not declared this. She was fined R1 000.

  • National Council of Provinces chairperson Joyce Kgoali and United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa fall in the category of MPs who made “incomplete disclosures”, but who were found not guilty of breaching the code.

    They were both “cautioned” for making “incomplete disclosures” and ordered to make a full declaration of their directorships. The committee found that Holomisa declared his directorships in the confidential section of the register and not in the public section as required by the code.

    In the initial M&G story Holomisa was also cited as a director of Maths 3000. The committee found that he had since resigned from Maths 3000.

    The committee found that Kgoali failed to declare her directorship of Allpay Gauteng, the company distributing social grants in the province.

    Kgoali declared that she is a trustee of Sediba sa Basadi Trust, an independent organisation which has a 5% stake in Allpay Gauteng.

    One aspect of the committee’s findings is problematic. The committee finds, on Kgoali’s non-disclosure, that “Kgoali represents Sediba in Allpay, and therefore by disclosure in respect of Sediba she did disclose [her] directorship in Allpay”. The committee agreed that Kgoali should “exercises caution regarding her disclosure”.

    This is problematic, as the code was established to ensure that MPs’ financial interests are publicly declared. Sediba’s involvement in Allpay was not known until Kgoali’s non-disclosure was exposed. Also, Sediba is a separate entity from Allpay and therefore a disclosure of Sediba cannot be construed as a disclosure of Allpay.

  • Derek Hanekom, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology; Susan Shabangu, Deputy Minister of Safety and Security; Makwena Ngwenya, Patekile Holomisa and Makhosazana Njobe were completely cleared on charges of non-disclosure.

    Hanekom was found to have relinquished his directorship, while Ngwenya and Njobe were not compelled to disclose their directorships in a non-profit organisation. The committee found that Holomisa and Shabangu were not responsible for their directorships and that third parties had signed on their behalf.

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