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From Rwandan art crafts and a pilchards hamper, to bottles of whiskey and wine and smartphones, those are just some of the gifts MPs declared in the 2019 register of members’ interest, the most recent record of parliamentarians’ financial interests.

The finalisation of the 800-page register was delayed due to the disruptions caused by Covid-19, which also affected the declarations for 2020.

MPs and ministers are obliged to make a declaration of their interests including gifts valued at R500 or more, properties, pensions and shares. This is part of measures to manage conflicts of interest.

However, not all MPs disclosed their interests before the deadline of September 13 2019. The joint committee on ethics and members’ interests did not say how many MPs had failed to meet the deadline. The committee approved a report to both houses of parliament with recommendations of possible sanctions.

In his declaration, finance minister Tito Mboweni listed various gifts including Rwandan art (with the purpose of promoting Rwanda arts) with a value of more than R1,500. The minister has consistently declared his love for Rwanda for its cleanliness, efficient governance and innovative use of public resources.  

Mboweni, who is often referred to as the “minister of cooking” by some on social media after posting his signature dish of Lucky Star pilchards and pap, said the executives of Lucky Star had gifted him a pilchards goodies hamper and a cookbook with an unknown value, but less than R500.

He also disclosed his small holding in Magoebaskloof and a farm in Limpopo.

Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan disclosed that he held various shares in more than 40 companies, including Sasol, Glencore, Naspers, Shoprite, Growth Point, Bidvest, Remgro, AB InBev, Tiger Brands, BAT, Medi-Clinic, Aspen and Woolworth. Gordhan further disclosed that he had received a Hanukkah menorah [lamp] and religious candles from the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, worth R4 000. He also received a handmade leather laptop bag from luxury leather goods maker Inga Atelier worth about R4,000. Gordhan declared a similar laptop bag worth about R5,000 from the Dutch Reformed Church.

Health minister Zweli Mkhize, who is currently embroiled in the R150m Digital Vibes scandal, disclosed that he had received various gifts including two sheep worth R1,200 each during a visit to the Eastern Cape. He also received a Bottle of Santiago de Cuba Ron Rum, Montecristo Coffee and a tea set worth R900 from the Ambassador of Cuba.

Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams disclosed a cellphone gift from Chinese phone maker, Huawei, worth between R11,000 and R16,000.

Similarly, EFF leader Julius Malema disclosed that he received a Samsung S8 Galaxy smartphone from Telkom worth R11,000. Malema did not disclose land or properties in his name, but listed his financial interests linked to the Ratanang Family Trust, and Kopano Family Trust.

Malema’s deputy, Floyd Shivambu, had nothing much to disclose, only revealing that he had received a “conference pack” of unknown value from  the National Association of Democratic Lawyers.

Among some of his gifts, former DA leader Mmusi Maimane declared that he received an overnight bag from Nandos, Oakley sunglasses from Specsavers worth about R2,000, 12 Bottles of wine amounting to R1,080, and Singleton Whiskey valued at R1,514.

Maimane’s successor, John Steenhuisen, disclosed that he worked as a consultant for North Star, an asset management firm, and was paid based on work done. He declared, among other gifts, a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label whiskey valued at R2,500 which he received from Taiwan Consulate, and a laptop worth roughly R19,000 from one Mr K Dilip.



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