Register of Members’ Interests 2015: adoption

Ethics and Members' Interest

28 October 2015
Chairperson: Co-chairperson: Mr A Singh (ANC, KZN); Mr A Masondo (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Documents handed out: 2015 Register of Members’ Interests

The Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests met briefly to consider and adopt the 2015 Register of Members’ Interests.

Before they could proceed, it was noted that there were not enough Members to form a quorum and a suggestion was made that the Chairperson write to the Chief Whips of all parties about the lack of attendance of their members at the meeting.

The Registrar of Members Interest reported that only 3 MPs had failed to submit but they were seriously ill and had sent doctors certificates as proof. The Registrar recommended that the names of those people who submitted late be tabled in a report in the ATC. The recommendation was that the late submissions were considered a minor breach. In terms of the code in the event of a minor breach the Committee may order the affected Member to rectify the minor breach and be counselled on the requirements of the code.

The proposals were accepted and the register was adopted.

Meeting report

Mr Masondo asked Members if they should continue with the meeting as there was not sufficient number of Members to form a quorum, or to just ratify matters discussed in the previous meeting.

Mr Singh said that they should first check whether any Members were on their way to the meeting before a decision was taken.

Ms A Dreyer (DA) said this was a recurring problem, it was not the first time this happened and not only in this term of Parliament, but also in the 4th Parliament and was an ongoing problem. This Committee always had a problem of getting a quorum for its meetings.

Ms Dreyer suggested that the Chairperson should write to the Chief Whips of all parties and attach the dates of meetings Members were given notice of and the dates of meetings that proceeded when they had a quorum, and also submit the attendance registers where they could see the names of Members who were serial offenders by not attending meetings. The Chief Whips should indicate whether such Members would not attend that Committee anymore and should send a Member that will attend the Joint Committee meetings because it affected the work of the Committee.

Mr Masondo agreed with Ms Dreyer’s suggestion; it would be taken forward.

Adoption of minutes                                                                                                                           
Ms T Motara (ANC; Gauteng) said her name did not appear on the minutes but she was present in that meeting.

Mr Masondo said that would be noted and the correction effected.

The minutes were adopted as amended.

Matters Arising
Mr Masondo said that they hade tried to capture matters arising on page 9 and would indicate where they were in each of the matters.

The complaint against Mr Figlan was the part of the agenda.
The rolling appointment and functioning of the Register that arose from the minutes would be commented on later and was a matter that was ongoing.

The legal opinion on the sub judice rule relating to Mr Mohapi was tabled at the last meeting and Members would comment on the matter.

The Public Protector report regarding Ms Mabe arose from the minutes and it was part of the new matters the Committee would look at.

On the question of developing a schedule on the applicability of complaints, it should be remembered that the Committee considered the matter and Members should ensure the matter was concluded at next Committee meeting.

Ms S Kalyan (DA) said she had requested in the minutes a legal opinion between the overlap of the powers and privileges, and the Committee, which was not appearing under matters arising.

Mr Masondo said that the legal advisor should comment in that regard.

The Legal Advisor said that indeed Ms Kalyan did make such request but the Committee did not take a decision or refer the matter to them formerly.

Mr Masondo said that they should report on that request in the next meeting.

The 2015 Register of Members’ Interests
The List of Members’ Interests was tabled.

Ms Fazela Mohammed, Registrar of Members Interest, said there were three non-submissions due to illness. All the Members were seriously ill and had doctor’s certificates to this effect, which were included for Members information. Three doctor’s certificates were received. After following the previous discussions of the Committee, the Registrar recommended that the names of those people who submitted late be tabled in a report on the ATC; the names were noted in the report on Committee Agenda. The recommendation was that the late submissions were considered a minor breach. In terms of paragraph point 7 of the code in an event of a minor breach the Committee may order the Member to rectify the minor breach and be counselled on the requirements of the code. Therefore, the recommendation was saying to Members they must adhere to the time frames of the code and that their names be published in the ATC in the report of the Committee.

Ms Dreyer asked for clarity with regard to the names that were contained in the register, whether they included the names of the people who submitted after the deadline of 31 July 2015.

The Registrar said yes it included all except for the 3 who did not submit because of illness.

Ms Dreyer said if that were the case it was not acceptable because at the previous meeting this matter was discussed at length and the minutes would reflect that she had raised several times the fact that they needed the Registrar to read out the names of people that submitted late before. She made it very clear that those Members should not be included because they did not meet the deadline.

The Registrar said there were two issues. The issue of disclosure was that the Member’s information must be transparent and it was recommended that those who submitted late must be named in the ATC. Therefore, there were two processes, the disclosure requirement and transparency requirement must be met in terms of the disclosure which was why the disclosure requirement was included in the report on the register. The issue of people who submitted late must be named in the ATC, which was a public document.

Ms Dreyer said she was covered by the explanation of the Registrar.

Mr Masondo said the register was a public document and would be made available to the public.

Ms D Carter (COPE) said before adopting the register it was very important to highlight that they did have medical certificates, but Members knew what a very serious dreadful disease was and it was not true what was said in terms of serious disease; some diseases did not keep one for a year or 18 months. Working for your political party was not a serious disease unless it was felt their political party is a serious disease. She felt sorry for the people who were really sick but there were those who are not really sick.

The Register was adopted.

The meeting adjourned.


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