ATC190308:Report of the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interest on the Complaint against Hon. A. Dlodlo, Mp: Minister of Public Service and Administration
REPORT OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON ETHICS AND MEMBERS’ INTEREST ON THE COMPLAINT AGAINST HON. A. DLODLO, MP: MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISRATION.
- On 8 June 2017, Honourable Van Damme, MP (“the Complainant”) lodged a complaint of an alleged breach of the Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members’ Interests (“the Code”) against Honourable Dlodlo, MP, the now Minister of Public Service and Administration (“the Member”).
- The complaint relates to the time when the Member was the Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration.
- The complaint:
- The Complainant refers to an allegation contained in the Sowetan newspaper dated 5 June 2017.
- The allegation is that the Member stayed at the Oberoi hotel in Dubai during 2015 and enjoyed spa massages, room service and car hire which she did not pay for.
- It is alleged in the newspaper article that a company called Sahara computers booked the accommodation but that Mr. Fana Hlongwane paid the invoice. The invoice for payment by Mr. Hlongwane included spa massages, room service, accommodation and car hire.
- The Complainant therefore alleged that the Member did not disclose the benefit as required by item 9.3 of the Code (Interests to be disclosed).
- The above-mentioned complaint was brought to the attention of the Member on 14 June 2017.
- The Response by the Member to the allegation
- The Committee considered this matter on 12 June 2018 and decided to invite the Member to appear before the Committee.
- The Member appeared in person before the Committee on 27 November 2018.
- The Member addressed the Committee on the allegation relating to her stay at the Oberoi hotel in Dubai.
- The Member informed the Committee that she and Mr. Fana Hlongwane (the person referred to in the newspaper article) were childhood friends and they considered themselves sister and brother. The Member placed this statement in context: Mr Fana Hlongwane and the Member are not blood relatives, but Mr Hlongwane’s biological father housed and cared for the Member and her family. Therefore, the Member was considered family of Mr. Hlongwane according to “African culture”.
- When the Member undertook to meet Mr. Fana Hlongwane in Dubai she never saw it as anything other than a holiday where she was meeting her brother. The Member categorically stated that at no time was she linked to any “Gupta” business, that she never met the “Gupta’s” and that she has never accepted anything from the “Gupta’s”.
- The Member stated that she never intended to break the rules of the Code. The reason why she did not declare the stay at the Oberoi hotel and the additional benefits of spa massages, room service and car hire was because she considered Mr. Fana Hlongwane her brother.
- The provisions of the Code
4.1. Items 9.3.6 and 9.3.7 of the Code provide as follows:
9.3. “The following kinds of financial interests are registrable interests and must be disclosed:
9.3.6- gifts and hospitality in excess on R1500, from a source other than a family Member or permanent companion or gifts of a traditional nature provided that this does not create a conflict of interest for the Member;
9.3.7- any other benefit of a material nature;”.
4.2. Item 9.3.6 of the Code refers to the words “family member”. The definition section in the Code refers to “immediate family” as follows: “means a Member’s spouse, permanent companion or dependents;”.
4.3 The definition of “immediate family” does not cover the type of brother and sister relationship that exists between Mr. Fana Hlognwane and the Member.
4.4 Having considered the explanation given by the Member, the Committee concluded that it is clear that Mr. Fana Hlongwane is not her spouse, permanent companion or dependant. The Member was therefore obliged to disclose her stay at the Oberoi hotel (accommodation), the spa massages, room service and car hire.
- The Committee found that the Member breached the Code as contemplated in item 10.1.1.1:
- Item 10.1.1.1 provides as follows:
“A Member breaches the Code if the Member contravenes or fails to comply with the requirements of the provisions for disclosing interests.
- The Committee found that the Member breached items 9.3.6 and 9.3.7 of the Code as a result of not disclosing the registrable interests.
- After the Committee found that the Member breached the Code, the Committee invited the Member to address the Committee on the penalty.
- The Member was given an option to appear before the Committee and/or to write to the Committee.
- The Member addressed written representations to the Committee, which was considered on 6 March 2019.
- Item 10.7.7 the Code provides for penalties.
- Item 10.7.7.1 of the Code provides that in the event that the Committee finds that a Member has breached clause 10.1.1.1 of the Code, the Committee must recommend the imposition of one or more of the following penalties,-
- a reprimand in the house;
- a fine not exceeding the value of 30 days’ salary;
- a reduction of salary or allowances for a period not exceeding 30 days; or
- the suspension of certain privileges or a Member’s right to a seat in Parliamentary debates or committees for a period not exceeding 30 days;
- in event of a breach considered minor by the committee the Member may be ordered to rectify the breach and be counselled on the requirements.
- The Committee therefore recommends that the following penalty be imposed-
- A reprimand in the house; and
- That the Member be ordered to rectify the breach and be counselled on the requirements of the Code.
HON. H. MAXEGWANA, MP HON. A. SINGH, MP
CO-CHAIRPERSONS OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON ETHICS AND MEMBERS’ INTERESTS
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