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Rifling through members’ drawers: MPs gifted rum, sheep and Rwandan art

Parliament published the financial interests of MPs for 2019 on 2 June. The 827-page register was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. From sheep to gym watches, bottles of wine and Rwandan art, MPs and ministers declared the interests and gifts they have received that are worth R500 or more in value, including properties and shares, as they are compelled to do.

This forms part of the government’s legal measures to try to control conflicts of interest.

Register of Members’ Interests by Mail and Guardian on Scribd

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize , who is facing criticism for the Digital Vibes tender scandal, declared that he received two sheep worth R1 200 each from the Eastern Cape royal houses of Sigcau and Ndamase, red wine, coffee and tea sets and a bottle of Cuba Ron Santiago de Cuba rum from the Cuban ambassador. Mkhize also declared four residential properties in KwaZulu-Natal. 

Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan disclosed that he held shares in companies that include Sasol, Glencore, Naspers, Shoprite, GrowthPoint, Bidvest, Remgro, AB InBev, Tiger Brands, BAT and Medi-Clinic, among others. He also declared receiving a Hanukkah menorah and candles, worth R4 000, and a leather laptop bag worth R4 999.99 from the Dutch Reformed Church Ooskerk, among other less expensive gifts. 

Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma listed shareholding in Sasol and Sanlam. The minister was also gifted a sheep worth R1 200 from a family, and a Lenovo laptop worth R8 000 from the Chinese embassy. She also received an Air France upgrade from business class to first class, with a “value unknown”, from Kalagadi Manganese Mining, among other gifts. Dlamini-Zuma owns a two-bedroomed apartment at the exclusive Zimbali resort in Ballito, and two other residential homes in KZN. 

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe received misbaha (Muslim prayer beads) made of polished gold ore worth R5 000 as a gift from the Saudi Arabian minister of energy. He also received a Mandela prison medallion from the Mineral Council of South Africa. Mantashe owns a farm in Elliot, two residences in Boksburg and one in Cala, Eastern Cape.

Finance minister Tito Mboweni said he had received Rwandan arts and crafts exceeding the value of R1 500. He was also gifted 18-year-old Glenfiddich single malt whisky, and a whisky bottle to the value R1 000 from the MTN CEO, Godfrey Motsa.  Mboweni owns a farm in Limpopo, a residential flat in an estate in Killarney and a house in Pretoria. 

Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen received a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label valued at about R2 500 from the Taiwan Consulate, a laptop valued at R19 000 from a private citizen, and cigars and coffee, of unknown value, from the Cuban Foreign Service, among others. Steenhuisen did not have any property to disclose.  

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema declared his Ratanang Family Trust, Kopano Family Trust, Mazimbu Investment Trust and Munshedzi Family Trust. Malema said he had no property to disclose. His gifts included books, wine and flowers, and an S8 Galaxy phone worth R11 000 from Telkom. 

Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi listed as properties his house in Ulundi, undeveloped land in kwaSishwili, and 2 998m2 of land in Ubombo.  Reverend Kenneth Meshoe of the African Christian Democratic Party was gifted a suit costing R15 000 by his wife and socks of R500 from his son. Meshoe listed his properties as a house in Vosloorus, one in Boksburg and a flat in Parkrand.   

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Chris Gilili
Chris Gilili is a climate and environmental journalist at the Mail & Guardian’s environmental unit, covering socioeconomic issues and general news. Previously, he was a fellow at amaBhungane, the centre for investigative journalism.

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