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ETHICS AND MEMBERS INTERESTS JOINT COMMITTEE
11 October 1999
ELECTION OF CHAIRPERSON, OVERVIEW OF CODE OF CONDUCT, AND REPORT ON DISCLOSURES.
Code of Conduct for Members of Parliament -1999
Register of Members’ Interests - 1999
Sister B Ncube of the ANC was elected as chairperson of the committee and Mr M Mushwana (ANC) was elected as her deputy. The Registrar, Ms F Mohammed, noted that the Committee on Ethics and the Committee on Members Interests have now been combined into one committee.
A committee suggested that each political party be given a copy of the Register of Members’ Interests, in order to verify the correctness of the information. Thereafter the Register could be made public.
The Chairperson made the following points:
- The Committee in the last Parliament succeeded in entrenching a culture of disclosure.
- All disclosures for 1999 have been received.
- It is important that the public is aware that Parliament has the political will to counter unethical and corrupt behaviour at every level in the public sector, and that it is prepared to commit itself to the same standards demanded from all those in public employ.
- It is also important that the good standing of Parliament and public confidence in its decision making be maintained. To this effect standards for disclosure have been set and clear measures to deal with conflict of interests have been introduced.
- In the future the Code must be revised to meet new challenges as they may arise.
- The Committee must also define more clearly the role of the Ethics component of the Committee.
The Registrar, Ms F Mohammed, made the following points about the Committee, its functions and Members’ Interests:
Composition of the Committee: 40 Members
ANC-15; DP-1; IFP-1; NNP-1; UDM-1; ACDP-1; PAC-1;
UCDP-1; FF-1; FA-1; MF-1; AEB-1; AZAPO-1
ANC-7; NNP-1; DP-1; IFP-1; UCDP-1; ACDP-1; UDM-1
Functions of the Committee - Refer to Joint Rules
Oversee the compilation of the Register of Members Interests.
Determine any complaints concerning the disclosure of members.
Recommend sanctions against members who contravene the code.
Serve as an advisory and consultative body on the Code.
Regularly review the code.
Report to both Houses annually on the operation of the Code.
Perform functions and exercise the other powers assigned to the Committee by the House or the Code.
Style of the Committee
Strictly observe confidentiality.
The committee should ensure the integrity of the House is maintained.
In the event of a complaint against a member, all decisions should be based on fact and not on party political considerations.
Disclosure of Interests: Public Disclosures
Shares and Financial Interests
Remunerated employment outside Parliament
Directorships and partnerships
Land and Property
Remuneration received in outside employment
Remuneration from directorship or partnership
Value of benefits
Value of sponsorships
All interests of the immediate family are confidential: i.e. Shares, directorships, gifts, travel, sponsorships, benefits, consultancies and land.
Other relevant information
Who should disclose?
All members of the National Assembly and permanent members of the NCOP.
When should the disclosure take place?
30 days after swearing in.
Members are required to disclose all conflict or potential conflict of interests, and withdraw from any forum or discussion where the matter is considered- unless the forum decides that the interests is trivial.
Members must retain the highest standards of honesty and accountability, openness and integrity.
No member may lobby for remuneration.
Members of Parliament are required to take decisions solely in the public interests.
If a member makes a representation to a Cabinet member or state organ in any matter which the member has a personal financial interest, the member must declare that interest.
Breaches of the Code
If a member contravenes or fails to comply with a provision of the Code.
When disclosing willfully provides the Registrar with incorrect information.
Investigations of complaints
The Committee on it’s own or on a complaint through the office of a Registrar, may investigate any allege breach by a member.
Procedure for the investigation of complaints:
The Committee must at least hear the complainant and the member against whom the complaint is lodged.
At the conclusion of its investigation, the committee must make a finding supported by reasons for the alleged breach of the code.
The findings and the reasons for the findings must be made public.
If the hearing was held in closed session a summary of the facts must be disclosed.
The committee must recommend one or more penalties if a breach has occurred:
Fine not exceeding 30 days salary.
Reduction or fine not exceeding 15 days.
Suspension or privileges or a members right to a seat in parliament for a period not exceeding 15 days.
Report to the House
Committee must report its findings within 30 days to the appropriate House.
The House may accept, reject or return the matter to the Committee for further consideration.
If the House accepts the recommendation, the Speaker or Chairperson must act promptly.
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