MP financial disclosures: ANC Chief Whip should set an example
The ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga must take a harder line with members of parliament (MPs) who do not meet deadlines for the declaration of their interests.
Considering Motshekga also missed the 23 August deadline he must not allow this to cloud his judgement on this issue.
The register of members' interests was presented to the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members Interests this week. This register is released once a year and lists gifts to MPs and their business interests - such as directorships, property ownerships and shareholding in companies.
This register allows the public, media and civil society to monitor potential conflicts of interest which may arise from valuable gifts and business activities of members of parliament.
The Ethics Committee adopted the register and resolved to publish the names of those MPs who have missed the deadline. The names were included in the committee report tabled in parliament on Wednesday.
The published names show that a total of 69 MPs from the ANC and other parties had missed the deadline, with 50 of these MPs coming from the ANC. The DA, the ACDP and the FF+ were the only parties to meet the original deadline.
Members who fail to meet the deadline for declarations show contempt for the work of the Ethics Committee and undermine the accountability and transparency that should be achieved through a complete and accurate register of Members' Interests.
We welcome the decision to publish the names of errant MPs, but will write to the Chief Whip to call for appropriate disciplinary action to be taken against those members who dragged their feet in submitting their declarations.
In addition, I will ask the ANC Chief Whip to set an example and maintain discipline amongst parliamentarians. He should not be part of the problem.
Public representatives must demonstrate their commitment to transparent and accountable government by heeding to the deadlines for their declarations. When they fail to do so, appropriate steps must be taken to remind them of this commitment.
Statement issued by Watty Watson MP, DA Chief Whip, October 28 2012
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