MPs face punishment for missing deadline to declare interests
Fourteen MPs who failed to submit their declarations of interests by the September deadline face possible sanction under Parliament’s code of ethics.
The register of members’ interests for 2016 was adopted by Parliament’s joint committee on ethics and member interests on Thursday — more than eight months after the first deadline — but will be released to the media only next week.
The committee’s co-chairpersons, Amos Masondo and Omie Singh, explained that the withholding of the report was based on the need to remove a confidential section.
MPs and ministers are obliged to make a declaration of their interests every year. They also have to declare all gifts valued at more than R500.
The first deadline for the declarations was in May and was extended to end-August. By end-August there were 55 disclosures that were still outstanding and the ethics committee granted a further extension to September 21, when there were 17 disclosures still outstanding. Two of these were for new members who had just joined Parliament, and one for a member who was ill.
The remaining 14 members then made their disclosures after the closing date, in contravention of the parliamentary code of ethics. This potential breach will be investigated by the committee, sources said, which could require the MPs to explain their failure. They could be sanctioned by a reprimand in the National Assembly.