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AD HOC JOINT COMMITTEE ON THE EXECUTIVE MEMBERS ETHICS BILL [B64-98]
24 August 1998
EXECUTIVE MEMBERS ETHICS BILL: DISCUSSION
Documents handed out
Executive Members Ethics Bill [B64-98] access from http://www.polity.org.za/govdocs/bills/1998
Chairperson: P Lekota
The legal advisor, Professor Fink Haysom, agreed to go through the whole Bill section by section for the sake of clarity. However, owing to time limitations, the chairperson concluded that the proposed amendments be drafted into a formal presentation for the next meeting which would be convened on or before the 28 August 1998.
The Bill addresses the constitutional requirement that there be national legislation to require, in turn, the President to prepare a Code of Ethics to govern the conduct of Members of the Cabinet (including the President, as defined), Deputy Ministers, Premiers and MPLs.
The committee then had a general discussion about the bill, concentrating on the question of whether parliament should have a role in the drafting of the Code. The committee which was appointed on 20th August elected Mr P Matosa (ANC) and Delegate Grove (ANC) as joint chairs. At the end of the meeting Matosa suggested that they need not meet again. Mr Matosa was reminded of his constitutional duty to make provision for public participation in the legislation drafting. It was agreed therefore that the committee should adjourn so as to hear public submissions on 28th August.
Other issues that arose in this meeting were:
- It was agreed that the statutory duties and responsibilities of both the Premier and the President were not a matter of substance although they had been raised.
- The word "may" would be used in the code of ethics.
- South Africa is basing its code of conduct on the British model rather than on the American model. In the British model, the Prime Minister is responsible for drawing up the code of ethics to be followed by parliamentarians. In South Africa the President will perform this function.
- It was suggested that specific provisions be made regarding gifts and matters of public concern and personal interest. It was further agreed that municipal councils be included owing to their highly complex nature.
- The need to disclose breaches to the Public Prosecutor who is already overloaded. Specific provision would have to be made to provide extra staffing resources.
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