Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament: prohibition against immediate family members doing business with state

Ethics and Members' Interest

11 March 2014
Chairperson: Mr B Mashile (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee considered the Draft Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament.

The ANC membership in the Committee felt that that the prohibition against immediate family members of Members of Parliament from doing business with the state infringed on the rights of their spouses and other immediate family members from 'freedom of trade, occupation and profession'. To that extent, they welcomed a postponement until the following day, to caucus on the refinement of the provision.

The DA had no problem with the prohibition provision but agreed to the caucus because the meeting had dragged on due to that one sticking point.

It was explained that the Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament did not apply to the President and Ministers Gordhan and Patel Code of Conduct who were not Members of Parliament, rather the Executive Ethics Code applied to them .

It was noted that the lodging of a complaint against an MP had been opened up, that is the affidavit was not a prerequisite. The Committee was being made more accessible so the public would be able to lodge a complaint. Of course there was a process of reviewing the complaint, where the Registrar would evaluate and verify the complaint. If the complaint was frivolous, it would be dispensed with. However, if there was prima facia substance to the complaint, then the investigation required evidence to be submitted, and evidence needed to be submitted under oath.

The Committee itself could initiate an investigation. It did not need a member of the public to complain but an allegation made anywhere, whether in media or otherwise, the Committee could decide whether to pursue an investigation.

Further the Code specified that if a Member resigned at any stage of the investigation, that investigation would continue in order for the Committee to make a finding. Currently if the Member resigned, the matter died. However, now, as long as the breach had occurred while MPs were still Members, investigations would continue even after resignation.
 

Meeting report

Opening remarks
The Chairperson welcomed Members, noting that the Committee was meeting for the first time since the Christmas break, even though it was also quite possible that it would be the last meeting of the Committee in the Fourth Parliament. He thanked Members for the cooperation over the five year period of the outgoing administration. He also thanked the media for the coverage in the instances where meetings had been open and the understanding when they had been closed as well.

He went into the history of the new Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament. The work was said to have started in the Third Parliament, and had kept the Committee busy for the whole Fourth Parliament. He pleaded with Members to help complete the work before the Fifth Parliament, so that that administration could receive a complete job.

In terms of the Joint Rules, the Code of Conduct was a living document that the Committee was at liberty to annually make corrections to, to review and to adjust.

The Committee had also to consider an investigation that the Registrar had completed, which needed the Committee’s attention and resolution. That item was closed to the media. The Members were not allowed to leave this meeting with the investigation report either.

The Chairperson read the introduction of the Code of Conduct with the Committee. The Committee had asked all political parties for input, with only the DA and the ANC eventually giving inputs on the current draft that Members were reading. Moreover, the state law advisors had also been consulted on the matter. Today, the Committee had to try and conclude the work, so the Code could be approved by the two Houses. This document was the most up to date and improved version. The hope was that the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) would consider and approve the adopted Code, so that in April the National Assembly (NA) could have the draft before it for concurrence. Those Members that would be returning to Parliament after elections, would have to embark on very rigorous training with the Joint Committee staff to train new, incoming Members on the work that went on in the Committee.

The Chairperson said that the plan was to go through the document page by page, so as to offer brief explanations as required for each section. He read from the cover of the document, with the Committee.

The Code currently was: the Code of ethical conduct and disclosure of Members’ interests for assembly and permanent council Members.

Ms D Kohler-Barnard (DA) noted a technical amendment for grammatical correctness.

Mr A Mlangeni (ANC) asked if the permanent council referred to was the NCOP.

The Chairperson replied in the affirmative, saying that all NCOP Members who were part of this Committee were permanent council Members.

The Chairperson resumed reading.

Ms Kohler-Barnard noted another technical error.

Ms Zuraya Adhikarie, Chief Legal State Advisor, noted another technical amendment. She also proposed that the definitions be listed in alphabetical order within the document.

The Chairperson replied that that probably would be problematic, as all terms had been defined in advance, that is on the first page. To have terms defined alphabetically would mean that the definition would sometimes come after the term had been used, which would create difficulties in reading. The sequencing of the terms allowed for defined words to be used in defining successive words below, as one was reading down the page.

Mr J van der Merwe (IFP) could not recall the procedure of definitions in Bills, so he wanted clarity on whether that was done as the Chairperson was proposing or in alphabetical order.

The Chairperson replied that if it was the Committee’s choice. The definitions could be done in alphabetical order, because the current sequence of definitions had simply been made to facilitate easy reading. The Registrar needed to ascertain that those terms in the earlier pages that had been corrected, needed to reflect the corrections in later pages of the Code.

He read on further that the scope of the Code spoke to being unable to anticipate or prescribe behaviour in hypothetical cases. The purpose was to create public trust and confidence in public representatives and to protect the integrity of Parliament. The principles of the Code were simply to guide Members as to what was expected of them, as representatives. The Code applied to the NA as well as the National Executive, excluding the President of the Country and the two Ministers who were Members of the Executive, but not the NA, namely Mr Ebrahim Patel and Mr Pravin Gordhan. Those three individuals subscribed to the Executive Ethics Code instead.

Ms Kohler-Barnard noticed that the Code spoke of the Handbook for Members of the Executive and Presiding Officers, which had been a mysterious document which had eluded many people over the years. She asked if that reference was to some mythical book or did it actually exist?

The Chairperson replied that he was sure that the Ministerial Handbook existed, and it probably was the same one which a particular court had requested to be reviewed.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked if the Chairperson had ever seen that book.

The Chairperson replied that that the book applied to the Executive.

Mr van der Merwe said that he had seen such a book and that if memory served him well, that very book had been under review, for about four years. Moreover, there was pressure on whoever was writing it up, to finalise it, as soon as possible.

The Chairperson agreed with Mr van der Merwe that there was a handbook, which the Committee did not possess; but it was applicable. That was what was being referred to and it was outside the Committee’s scope.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked for clarity on who was excluded from subscribing to this Code.

The Chairperson replied reiterating the above mentioned Ministers, saying that they had been appointed from outside of Parliament.

Mr van der Merwe said that he was struggling a bit with the exclusions, because those three Members were in Parliament. What where they categorised as then? If constitutionally they were not NA Members, they had to be NA Members according to their conduct because if that was not the case, when they transgressed, could there be nothing done to them?

The Chairperson reminded the Committee that those three Members did not even have voting rights in the chamber. Moreover, that was because they were only Members of the executive, and as such were bound to come to the NA; only when there was business for them in Parliament.

Mr van der Merwe repeated his question on what was to be done when those Members had contravened the Code.

The Chairperson replied that the Executive Ethics Code applied to those Members and they would be dealt with according to that handbook.

Mr B Radebe (ANC) agreed with the Chairperson, adding that even the travelling arrangements of those officials were not paid by Parliament, but by their respective departments.

The Chairperson said that in the next Parliament if there was consensus to include those three Members within the Code, that discussion could be heard as that document was a living document.

Mr Mlangeni said that Mr van der Merwe surprised him as he had been in Parliament since the first democratic elections. Mr van der Merwe was aware that the first Minister of Finance had been appointed outside of the NA.

Mr van der Merwe replied that he had not forgotten anything because even during apartheid when he served in Parliament, there had been people who had been brought into the Executive, that were non-NA Members. What was problematic for him was that those individuals who were amongst the NA Membership, could not be held to account for contravention of the Code.

The Chairperson suggested the Committee continue with that discussion in the Fifth Parliament as it also had some legal implications.

Mr van der Merwe said that he was not going to be part of that Parliament, and possibly there would not be an issue.

The Chairperson read on further that the Code needed to be read together with particular Bills.

Ms Kohler-Barnard noted a technical amendment

Mr van der Merwe asked to be excused as he had a prior appointment that he could not cancel. He thanked the Committee and the Chairperson for the opportunity to have served with all its Members.

The Chairperson excused him, saying that he knew Mr van der Merwe supported the document.

Ms Adhikarie commented on grammatical and punctuation errors, asking if she could add those when the document was being edited without having to raise them in the current meeting.

The Chairperson agreed that as long as those corrections did not change the substantive content of the document, it was fine.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked for clarity on the difference between a "direct conflict" and a "conflict". Was there a legal necessity for the term ‘direct’?

The Registrar, Ms Fazila Mohamed, replied that that particular clause referred to matters of gifts, where for example a Member belonged to the Communications Portfolio Committee, and the discussion was for instance the finalisation of a licence with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA); and the company receiving the licence was giving out gifts to every Member. That would constitute a direct conflict. Moreover, if six months before or two months after that licensing, a Member received a small token gift, that potentially could be seeing as a conflict, but it was a minor indirect conflict of interest. A direct conflict of interest was something that could be seen clearly to be a bribe.

Ms Adhikarie commented on a possible phrasing clarity that would be beneficial for everyone, and she formulated how that would sound.

The Chairperson read it over for the Committee. He suggested that that clause needed to be read slowly, and that it was probably punctuated wrongly.

Ms Adhikarie reread the phrase as read out by the Chairperson.

The Chairperson said that even though it sounded tautological, the need there was for the removal of a colon.

Mr Mlangeni sought clarity on what was meant in the Code by ‘immediate family member’. Was that meaning dependents from wives to children and parents, because if that was what was meant, examples would suffice to put limits on that clause.

The Chairperson said that the Code had those definitions in the first pages.

Mr Z Luyenge (ANC) asked for clarity as to the concentration of that clause, as it was about NA Members and nothing much about their business partners. The beneficiation should stop at the business partner and not the family of the business partner. Was there anything about the relatives of the business partner and their indirect beneficiation.

The Chairperson said the best he could do would be to say that they had tried to exclude the family members of the business partner.

Ms M Mangena (ANC) asked about the repetition of the phrase ‘that Member’ in this contentious sentence.

The Chairperson replied that the purpose there was probably to send a particular message. That was because each of those repetitions accompanied different relations of the NA Member, from immediate family, to a business partner, to a business partner of a family member of the NA Member.

Ms Adhikarie asked if she could propose a rephrase of the clause to simplify the possible ambiguity that was arising there.

The Chairperson reminded Ms Adhikarie that that meeting was not the only place she could effect those changes.

 Ms Adhikarie said that was fine, but that rephrase could carry through because the following clause also had a similar ambiguity and she was worried that difficulties in interpretation could arise.

The Chairperson asked the Committee if it could not leave that clause as it was. If it caused problems upon application then, the following Committee could improve it; otherwise the proceedings would not be concluded today. The current phrase gave the correct message. Committee Members would be able to interpret those clauses to whomever needed an interpretation, as the Joint Rules dictated that the Committee was supposed to give interpretation to all NA Members. The amendments that Ms Adhikarie was proposing were going to apply to the entire document, even though they were for simplicity.

Mr Radebe said that the Committee had proposed that before that document was finalised, it should be cleaned up properly. He agreed though that the Chairperson’s proposal was acceptable.

Ms Kohler-Barnard commented that she had wondered if the Committee should not define "direct", where it was used in ‘direct personal or private financial’ and so forth; because people would always try to find some wriggle room. That is, "it was actually my son’s company" and other such excuses. She felt that direct personal or private financial business interests perhaps needed to be defined upfront as well, to stop any wriggle room. She asked the Registrar to explain what ‘an organ of state as a public representative, which was not available in the public domain’, meant.

The Chairperson replied that that possibly referred to when a Member was in the Police Committee, having had access to information that the Member could use for personal interest, which information was not available to the public. That spoke to abusing information that had been given in a forum to a Member as a public representative, and for which other citizens had no access to the same information.

Ms Kohler-Barnard noted two more technical amendments.

Mr Radebe said that he had an issue with the prohibition of immediate family of NA Members from doing business with Parliament or the state. For example if his son was reading for a Ph D in chemistry, after which he becomes the head of an institute, which did business with the Department of Water Affairs (DWA). He would be barred then from doing that work, according to that provision.

The Chairperson said that the prohibition was a general one, but the Committee still was to decide on certain things that were legislatively allowed, and which Members would not be able to avoid those being enforced. The Committee was not going to be able to create a document that would be self-regulating on its own. The Committee was to be behind that document, which would also be representing the spirit behind the Code and not necessarily a right or wrong approach.

Mr Luyenge said he agreed with Mr Radebe on the prohibition matter, because that proposed that they were to be like lifetime Members of Parliament. Additionally, that bordered on infringing on the rights of NA Members’ partners and children who were not Members of Parliament (MPs) themselves. He wanted to register a serious concern that that prohibition needed further analysis.

The Chairperson asked if the Committee could read the definition of immediate family together.

Mr Luyenge reiterated that he was referring to his adult children or spouse, who were working elsewhere or were entrepreneurs.

The Chairperson interjected that that was why he was requesting the reading of that definition, because Members would see that there possibly would be some exclusions. He reiterated that was why he had earlier said that if the application of the Code posed challenges in certain clauses, within the next year the Committee could adjust the Code so that it delivered on the spirit behind it.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said she thought that prohibition quite clear in the definition, because the limitation there was referring to dependents, therefore the Committee was talking about teenagers. The Committee had seen numerous instances where public representatives set up companies in the names of seventeen year olds and pushed contracts through those companies. That was what that prohibition was attempting to stop, because even the Minister of Finance had spoken to that issue extensively, where the aim was to stop corruption. She said that the prohibition would go very far in curbing corruption as it was not saying a NA Members’ qualified 26 year old architect could not do business with the state.

Mr Radebe reiterated that the prohibition included the spouse. It meant that if his wife was an advocate she would be excluded from doing any work with the state, because the prohibition was saying any state organ. The issue for him was if limits were to be placed within an area where he had influence, for example if his spouse would be limited to doing any work with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), since he was a Member of that departments oversight Committee; that would be fine. However, if she would be doing work for DWA: where he had no influence that was problematic for him.

The Chairperson reiterated that that was why he had been trying to say there would be definitely exclusions on some matters that were direct. If a Members’ wife was running a law firm where she would get clients needing representation. Where she would find out in court that the clients were representing some section of the state: that did not mean that that lawyer would be barred. There were obvious cases were that prohibition could not be enforced. Alternatively, the Committee knew that public representatives contact with family members created situations that were untenable.

Prof B Turok (ANC) said that it was common practice in business, that one registered both immovable and movable assets in the wife’s name in order to avoid tax. Moreover, when the Committee had been to Germany to meet with the Bundestag; it had discovered that MPs had to disclose in that country, but not the spouse. So Bundestag Members had found a way to have their other income paid through their spouses and not directly to them. If the ANC was having similar difficulties, that could be dealt with, but the general position was that there was too much fiddling through spouses.

Ms B Mabe (ANC, Gauteng) said that she was a little bit concerned that the Committee was going all out to disadvantage itself. Public office had a set period, after which Members had to start all over again. She was cautioning the Committee against that particular prohibition, because Members were still young with young families and spouses active in business.

The Chairperson had a conundrum at that point as almost every Member of the Committee had their hand up.

Mr Mlangeni said that he thought the Committee was stretching that definition too far. His proposal was that immediate family include his spouse and children, without nephews and nieces.

The Chairperson went back to the definition because he felt the ANC was deliberately not trying to understand the definition. He read the definition for "immediate family". He asked if the problem was when dependents were a person within the Members’ house, dependent on the Member for their livelihood. Once a child had grown up and was independent, they became a beneficiary of the Members’ estate, but were no longer dependents. The Chairperson reiterated his position about a review of the provision over the next twelve months.

Mr Luyenge asked the Chairperson to give the Members a chance to give their opinions. He said that the ANC was talking exactly to the issue of being in Parliament with no guarantee of a full term in that House. Should it disadvantage its families by not allowing them to pursue their business interests by virtue of having family members in Parliament? What was so troublesome about investigating that matter further so Members could have more understanding about that provision?

Mr Radebe said that that issue was bordering on infringing the provisions of the Bill of Rights, which guaranteed any citizen of South Africa could practice any trade that citizen wanted to. He would be comfortable with that prohibition ending with the Member, because if any shenanigans arose the Code could be invoked to deal with that conflict of interest. His perception was that the Committee’s posture was insinuating that MPs were inherently corrupt. On amending the Code in the next term, that would not be as easy as the Code would be coming from the previous Parliament, therefore he was proposing the Committee err on the side of caution.

The Chairperson explained to Dr G Koornhof, who had just arrived, about the discussion on the prohibition of NA Members and their immediate families from doing business with the state. He explained that the ANC in the Committee felt that prohibition need only include MPs. He was not certain whether he should propose that the Committee flag that provision, finish the rest of the Code, so that it could come back, and deal with it later in the meeting.

Dr Koornhof (ANC) said that indeed that clause was important and probably it would be better to flag it. He explained that the intention of that provision was to have a blanket prohibition from doing business with organs of state or government, which also included doing business with Parliament. Moreover, it included not having influence in doing business with the state.

The Chairperson reiterated what he and Dr Koornhof had just commented on.

Ms Mabe proposed that provision be flagged.

Ms Kohler-Barnard asked the legal advisors if she was not correct that in the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) that there was a provision that said that officials should not do business with the very entity they were employed by. The provisions were exactly the same. They as MPs could have influence over a tender, and the next thing an MP would be ensuring that the tender went to their child, which was what was being prohibited in that provision.

The Chairperson proposed that the Committee flag that provision. The following prohibition depended on a MP's political party sanctioning it or agreeing that the work that the MP was doing was not in contradiction with the work of Parliament. That permission from the party would have to be communicated to the Registrar.

He read on further about the facilities that Members were getting in Parliament. That also included Members that were no longer MPs which still were being serviced by Parliament to also abide by the rules of the Code.

Mr Luyenge asked for clarity on the work that an MP was doing beside his parliamentary work, which was subject to the approval of his or her political party. Did the Members’ declaration also need that approval attached?

The Chairperson said that was exactly what was required. The political party needed to approve in writing, and that approval needed to be lodged with the Registrar and the declaration form also needed to have that attachment, as a way of making those issues more transparent.

Mr Luyenge asked about if the approval had not been lodged at that time.

The Chairperson replied that would constitute a breach.

Dr Koornhof noted in the Code where there was a reference to former MPs and how the Code applied to them. Moreover, he said anything else post tenure had been deleted from the Code, except for those two clauses and that was a major change.

The Chairperson continued reading the provisions. He reminded the Committee that even though the Code prohibited MPs from doing work with the state; a Member could return in May 2014 as a new MP, with an unfinished contract from the previous administration. That unfinished contract had to be disclosed, even if the Member was switching over to Parliament from whatever company he or she was coming from. Disclosure of trusts had also been included, because a lot of headaches had come through trusts.

Mr Mlangeni gave the example of an individual becoming an MP, but who had shares in his name from a company conducting business with the state. He asked if that person would be asked to resign from his position in that company.

The Chairperson replied that there would be a declaration of interests when that individual was entering parliamentary service, within 60 days of entry as well. When one had shares in a company, the Committee needed to remember that meant the individual owned a part of the company. So when that company did business with the state, that individual would be doing business with government.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that provision would also ensure that parties did their due diligence and would be aware that an individual had a major shareholding in mining. Therefore, the Member would not be put on the Minerals and Energy Committees but somewhere else. That would ensure that Members did not have influence over something that they had a personal financial interest in.

The Chairperson continued reading that the mandate of the Committee came to be very important. That the Committee needed to assist MPs, where any doubt existed about whether a financial interest needed disclosure. On confidentiality, the intent there was to ascertain that other Members did not disclose other Members’ interests to the public. Then the breaches spoke to, what they were constituted of, what powers were available; and where ultimate responsibility lay. The list of types of breaches was also noted. The Chairperson read out the procedure for investigations done by the Registrar. He also enumerated the sanctions and penalties that could be imposed as defined by the Code. Breaches especially of contracts, for example a contract of R 70 million, the penalty of a 30 day salary sanction for that Member would not mean anything. That was why that particular penalty was to be recommend by the Committee to the appropriate House to which that Member belonged. That House would consider and approve that sanction by either increasing or decreasing the penalty accordingly. The Committee could not put a body of penalties for that particular situation because the range of breaches was quite wide, in terms of value.

Ms Kohler-Barnard was worried about the wording, because as she read it, she understood the sanctions to be limited to what was already laid out there, and it was not speaking to possibly allowing panels or Houses to increase penalties above what was already defined in the Code. She understood what the Chairperson was saying - that the Committee had been complaining that a month’s salary was not sufficient when a MP had been found guilty of a massive infringement. She recommended that it needed to be made clearer than it currently was in the Code.

The Chairperson proposed what the rewording needed to include and what recommendation was needed. He asked the Committee whether it was better to say " increased" or "appropriate", because increased had the basis of the penalty for that specific breach.

Prof Turok recommended that if the Committee said "any greater sanction deemed appropriate", that would be fine.

Dr Koornhof thought that the intention of that clause was that the Committee could recommend any sanction it deemed appropriate to the House, over and above. The clause he felt adhered to that intention.

The Chairperson said that the Committee was only looking for a small amendment. The proposal was to best refer to the sanctions already listed. That the Committee would not impose any of those listed sanctions, but would recommend instead whatever was appropriate to the relevant breach.

Mr Luyenge referred to the lodging of a complaint with the Registrar through an affidavit, and asked what about the media? This Committee found itself chasing mostly media "shadows". For example, if there had been a story about a Minister; which would come to the Committee for it to sanction an investigation. How was the Committee to deal with that?

The Chairperson replied that the lodging of the complaint had been opened up, that is the affidavit was not a prerequisite. The Committee was being made more accessible to the public to be able to lodge a complaint. Of course there was a process of reviewing the complaint, where the Registrar would evaluate and verify the complaint. If the complaint was frivolous, it would be dispensed with. However, if there was prima facia substance to the complaint, then the investigation required evidence to be submitted, and evidence needed to be submitted under oath.

Mr Luyenge said he was referring to the media statements that would be made by individuals. Could Members bring that to the Committee’s attention for further investigation? Could that form the basis of an investigation by the Committee?

The Chairperson replied that if the complaint spoke to the Code of Conduct, it would be pursued. The procedure would be that the Registrar would ask the Member for a response to that complaint relating to the Code. This would be before anybody knew about that matter, so only the response would evoke a decision about pursuing or not pursuing that matter.

Mr Luyenge reiterated that the basis could be a media publication, without the lodging of a direct complaint. Could the Committee in the interest of the public decide to voluntarily investigate?

Prof Turok said that it would not be a good idea to include the media in the Code because Mr Luyenge’s point was covered when the Code said the Committee on its own may decide or consider. That provision assumed the Committee was aware of media publications of all sorts. Therefore, an allegation made anywhere, whether in media or otherwise, the Committee could decide whether to pursue, but the panel did not want to say in the Code that the Committee had responded to a media report.

Further on the Code specified that if a Member resigned at any stage of the investigation, that investigation would continue in order for the Committee to make a finding. Currently the Committee was struggling with Members finding difficulties when they knew they had contravened. They just resigned with the result that the matter died. As long as the breach had occurred while MPs were still Members, investigations would continue even after resignation.

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that the "necessary action that needed to be taken by the Speaker" was very vague to her. There had been incidents to do with sanctions where the Ethics Committee had given definite guidelines that the investigation would be handed to the South African Police Service (SAPS) or the South African Revenue Service (SARS). That seemed to be taking that prerogative away from the Committee and giving it to the Speaker. She asked for clarity on that provision. Was the Committee not snookering itself?

The Chairperson replied that if the matter was outside the Committee’s jurisdiction there was very little it could do but to refer to the head of the House.

Ms Kohler-Barnard reiterated her point emphasising that the recommendations would be based on the Ethics Committee's belief that it was its duty to hand over investigation to SAPS. Was that provision not saying the Committee could no longer do that?

The Registrar said that when the Committee did a referral, it was a recommendation of the Committee to the House, and the Speaker was obliged to act. That provision though referred to a catch-all for a lacuna that was created. For example, there were circumstances where the Committee could not deal with it, but the breach was bad conduct by a Member. Usually the Committee would say it did not know how to deal with such a matter as it was outside its scope, and usually that would be referred to the Speaker to see where that matter could be taken.

The Chairperson said referral to other state organs was in compliance with combating fraud. He reminded the Committee that when the Code was read, it had to be read in conjunction with other pieces of legislation, including the Constitution. That was what empowered the Committee, to say that if it had a problem that may need the Public Service Commission (PSC), especially regarding personnel, the Committee referred it the problem to that organ of state. However, the minute a problem was approved in the House; it became a House resolution, which the Speaker was the custodian of or the NCOP Chairperson.

The Chairperson said that the Committee should go back to the unresolved prohibition and decide on whether it needed party caucusing to find a resolution. The Committee had to finish.

Mr Luyenge had a question about Members resigning in the middle of an investigation. He asked if the Committee would have locus standi upon that former Member constitutionally?

The Chairperson said that for matters that the former Member had done whilst an MP, he or she would have to account. He asked if the Committee was accepting a proposal to caucus on the prohibition or if it was satisfied about amending that prohibition during the next twelve months.

Mr Radebe said that the issue of blanket prohibitions for MPs was fine. If the "immediate family" could be excluded from that prohibition the ANC would be fine.

Dr Koornhof suggested that party caucuses be allowed to consider that prohibition and the Committee could resume later to deal with that provision.

The Chairperson reiterated the proposal

Ms Kohler-Barnard said that the DA had no issue with that clause.

The Chairperson said that the DA seemed to have no issue with that clause, while the ANC was having challenges as not all its Members were present.

Prof Turok said that the document was not a Bill, but a Code and suggested that it be adopted with the provision that it would be revised from time to time. He was concerned that caucusing would lead to the document not being adopted.

The Chairperson reiterated that there would be very little to no time to consider this Code of Conduct the following day.

Ms Mabe asked that parties present the Code to their caucuses before final approval.

The Chairperson interjected and asked Ms Mabe when the Committee would find time to meet again after the NA sitting and final rising.

She asked if the Committee was rushing the Code in so that by the following day, it would be done before the NA sitting.

The Chairperson said that was not the case.

Ms Mabe cut in there, saying that her suggestion was due to the majority not agreeing to that prohibition.

The Chairperson said that that had not been tested at this point. He asked if the document could be adopted with the provision that the ANC caucus deal with its concerns about that particular clause. Therefore, if it agreed then that clause would be included in the Code. If it did not, then the clause would be excluded.

Ms Mabe said that because there would not be any other time for the Committee to deal with the issue, could it not be put to a vote?

Ms Kohler-Barnard suggested that parties be allowed to caucus so that the following day an hour was set aside to deal with that issue after the NA sitting.

The Chairperson asked if the Committee was in agreement with that.

The ANC agreed.

The Chairperson said that the following day's meeting would deal with the prohibition and investigation.

Ms Mangena noted that for quality assurance, the document needed to have corrections inserted as well.

The Chairperson replied that the Code was just still a draft and that the meeting was adjourned with the provision that it would be reconvened the following day.

Dr Koornhof requested if it would be possible for someone during this adjournment to work on the grammar and punctuation to improve the document.

The Chairperson told Mr Koornhof that this was already agreed upon and adjourned the meeting.
 

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