Cabinet ministers, their deputies as well as members of Parliament, have until August 15, to make full declarations of their business interests to Parliament, says Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.
Minister Muthambi was reacting to reports that highlighted the private business interests of President Jacob Zuma and members of the executive.
According to the minister, some ministers are in the process of resigning their directorships as some of these companies are not even active but are still listed.
Minister Muthambi said there was no law that prevented members of the executive from having personal financial interests.
She said however, that those interests were only acceptable as long as there was no conflict of interest.
“There is nothing wrong with members of the executive having personal or private financial or business interests, as long as they are not in conflict of interest,” the minister said on Monday.
However, she said, the Executive Members Ethics Act and the Ministerial Handbook are frameworks within which members of the executive operate.
In accordance with the Ministerial Handbook, a cabinet member must declare any personal or private financial or business interest and must withdraw from the proceedings of any committee of the cabinet or an executive council considering a matter in which the member may have an interest in, unless the President decides that the member’s interest is trivial or not relevant.
This includes any financial or business interest which, to the member’s knowledge, the member’s spouse, or permanent companion or family member has.
“The purpose of the disclosure is to ensure that the officials serve the public in a fair and transparent manner and to hold them accountable for their exercise of power,” said Minister Muthambi, adding that failure to do so can prompt the Public Protector to investigate any alleged breach of the code of ethics.
“The Ministerial Handbook clearly states that members may not receive remuneration for any work or service other than for the performance of their functions as members, and should not use their position or any information entrusted to them, to enrich themselves or improperly benefit any other person.”
Minister Muthambi reiterated that government is dedicated to moving South Africa forward and remains committed to complying with the annual declaration, in line with the prescribed rules and regulations.
Source : SAnews.gov.za