ATC190328: Report of the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests on the complaint against the Honourable Deputy Minister of Correctional Services, Mr Thabang Makwetla, MP
REPORT OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON ETHICS AND MEMBERS’ INTERESTS ON THE COMPLAINT AGAINST THE HONOURABLE DEPUTY MINISTER OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, MR THABANG MAKWETLA, MP
1.1 On 11 September 2018, Honourable John Steenhuisen, MP, Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance (‘the Complainant”) lodged a complaint of an alleged breach of the Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members’ Interests (“the Code”) against the Honourable Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Thabang Makwetla, MP (“the Member”).
- The Complaint
2.1 The Complainant alleges, by referencing a news article in the News 24 website, that BOSASA (now known as African Global Operations), a Facility Management company, installed high-end CCTV cameras, an alarm system and an electric fence at the home of the Member. He further alleged that a computer server worth R350 000 was also installed at the home of the Member.
2.2 The Complainant indicates that he perused the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 Declarations of the Member. In perusing the Members’ disclosures, he did not find that the Member disclosed the security equipment that was installed at his home by BOSASA.
2.3 The Complainant alleges that the Member, through his conduct, “… infringed upon the Code of Conduct and did not act in a manner which would abide by the principles, rules and obligations of the Code of Conduct; uphold the law; or while discharging his obligations, placed the public interest above his own.”.
- The response by the Member
3.1 The Member, in his response indicates that he knows the Watson brothers, including Mr. Gavin Watson from the “struggle days’. He further states that when he was appointed as Deputy Minister for Correctional Services, he visited the Krugersdorp Operations Centre of BOSASA. He did this after a briefing by the Facilities Branch.
- The Member indicates that Mr. Gavin Watson assisted with the installation of the security infrastructure at his home after a burglary in January 2016. At that time of year, the Member could not obtain a service provider to provide the service as companies were closed.
- Mr. Watson dispatched a team immediately to install security infrastructure at the Members’ home. The Member requested a quotation but Mr. Watson refused to provide one. The Member indicates that when he spoke to Mr. Watson about it, Mr Watson said that the Member cannot expect him to charge a comrade. The Member disagreed with this view and indicates that the pleaded with Mr Watson to send him the bill.
- The Member indicated that it was his intention to escalate the matter to the President of the Republic of South Africa. However, due to the difficult environment that played out in this party, it became virtually impossible for him to do so. The Member states that the reason why he did not disclose the service rendered by BOSASA is because he refused to accept it as a gift or benefit.
- The Member states that, “For purposes of managing public perceptions and to protect public trust in government authority, the service rendered cannot and should not be allowed to be free of charge.”.
- The provisions of the Code
- In terms of Item 10.1.1 of the Code, a Member breaches the Code if the Member-
- Contravenes of fails to comply with the requirements of the provisions for disclosing interests;
- when disclosing registrable interests, wilfully or is grossly negligently, provides the Registrar with incorrect or misleading details; or
- contravenes clauses 4.1,5.1, 5.2, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 7.1, 8.1 and 9.19.4 and 9.19.5 of this Code; and … .”
4.2 Item 9.3.6 and 9.3.7 of the Code provides as follows: “The following kinds of financial interests are registrable interests and must be disclosed:
9.3.6 gifts and hospitality in excess of 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 mature.”.
4.3 Item 4.1 provides as follows:
“4.1 Members must:
4.1.1 abide by the principles, rules and obligations of this Code;
4.1.2 by virtue of the oath or affirmation of allegiance taken by all elected Members, uphold the law;
4.1.3 act on all occasions in accordance with the public trust placed in them;
4.1.4 discharge their obligations, in terms of the Constitution, to Parliament and the public at large, by placing the public interest above their own interests;
4.1.5 maintain public confidence and trust in the integrity of Parliament and thereby engender the respect and confidence that society needs to have in Parliament as a representative institution; and
4.1.6 in the performance of their duties and responsibilities, be committed to the eradication of all forms of discrimination.”.
4.4 The Committee noted that the Company Global Technology Systems (Pty) Ltd, previously called Bosasa, was contracted to the Department of Correctional Services at the time when the security infrastructure was done at the home of the Member. Item 4.1.3 requires that the Member must on all occasions act in accordance with the public trust placed in him.
5.1 The Committee found that the Member breached Item 10.1.1.1 of the Code for not complying with the provisions for disclosing interests as contemplated in items 9.3.6 and 9.3.7 of the Code.
5.2 The Committee also found that the Member breached Item 10.1.1.3 of the Code read with Item 4.1.3 of the Code as he breached the public trust that is placed in him as a Member of Parliament when he allowed a company that was contracted to his Department to conduct work at his private residence, which was not paid for.
6.1 Item 10.7.7 of the Code provides for penalties.
6.2 Item 10.7.7.1 of the Code provides that in the event that the Committee finds that the Member breached Item 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;
- the suspension of certain privileges or a Members’ right to a seat in Parliamentary debates or committees for a period not exceeding 30 days;
- in the event of a breach considered minor by the committee the Member may be ordered to rectify the breach and be counselled on the requirements of the Code.
6.3 Item 10.7.7.2 of the Code provides that in the event that the Committee finds that a Member contravened clause 10.1.1.3 of the Code, the Committee shall not impose any of the sanctions contained in Item 10.7.7.1, but shall recommend any greater sanction it deems appropriate to the House, and the House shall decide on the appropriate sanction to be imposed after consideration of the recommendation of the Committee.
6.4 The Committee recommends to the House that the following penalty be imposed-
- In respect of the breach of item 10.1.1.1 of the Code (failure to disclose), a fine equal to 30 days salary (item 107.7.1 (ii)).
- In respect of the breach of item 10.1.1.3 of the Code read with item 4.1 (4.1.3), that the Member apologise in the House for not acting in accordance with the public trust that was placed in him as a Member of Parliament (item 10.7.7.2 of the Code).
HON. MAXEGWANA HON. SINGH
CO- CHAIRPERSONS OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON ETHICS AND MEMBERS’ INTERESTS
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