S'bu Ndebele must give his car back - DA

Stuart Farrow MP says minister of transport's acceptance of Merc gift creates appearance of conflict of interest

It is important that a cabinet minister, who is in a position of enormous influence, be completely free from any conflict of interest situation. The Democratic Alliance (DA) therefore calls on Transport Minister Mr. S'bu Ndebele to return the vehicle given to him as a gift by a company which has business dealings with his department.

President Zuma is on public record as saying that he is committed to a corruption-free administration. It is vitally important for our ability to root out poverty and for the survival of our democracy that he stand by this promise, and that all members of Cabinet also live by it.

The transport minister therefore must show that he is not beholden to Vukuzakhe contractors, and Mr. Ndebele must return the Mercedes Benz gift they gave to him. This will help to give us confidence that any future contracts awarded to Vukuzakhe are based on their ability to deliver, not on the consideration of this gift.

Vukuzakhe already has contracts with the Department of Transport worth more than R400 million. It will not be enough for the Minister to declare this gift in the Register of Members Interests. By giving the car back, the Minister will show that any contracts awarded to Vukuzakhe are not based on any form of favoritism.

Moreover by refusing to give back the car, the Minister will be acting in contravention of the Executive Members Ethics Act of 1988 which requires cabinet members to "at all times act in good faith and in the best interest of good governance".

The DA will continue to play its role of oversight as the official opposition. In this role we will not be hindered by the Minister's statements that we are "not guardians of his morality".

Statement issued by Stuart Farrow, MP, Democratic Alliance spokesperson on transport, May 18 2009

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