EC HEADS FAIL TO DECLARE: SATURDAY DISPATCH

THE Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet, three of her MECs, and most members of the provincial legislature have failed to declare or update their financial interests as required.

Failure to do so is in contravention of the Code of Ethics and could lead to them forfeiting a month’s salary and facing disciplinary action by their parties.

MEC for economic development and environmental affairs Mcebisi Jonas has not declared all the directorships listed in the companies register, but told the Daily Dispatch he had resigned all commercial directorships when he took office.

He said the companies’ register and register of interest were both not credible and not up to date.

After inquiries by the Dispatch, the legislature warned members yesterday that a report was likely on their declaration of financial interests.

The three MECs who were reported early this week to have made no declaration since assuming office last year January, are Zoleka Capa of the rural development and agrarian reform department, Thandiswa Marawu from roads, transport and public works, and Helen Sauls-August from the human settlement and safety and liaison department.

Provincial government spokesman Manelisi Wolela confirmed the three MECs had not made a declaration.

Sauls-August and Marawu disputed Wolela’s information but Capa confirmed she had not made a declaration.

The Eastern Cape legislature’s code of ethics says members must report details of their financial and property holdings, gifts worth more than R500 and work they do outside their parliamentary duties to a registrar appointed by the institution.

MECs, like cabinet ministers, are obliged to report gifts worth more than R1 500.

The code goes on to say the registrar, legislature secretary Phumelele Ndamase, must “open, compile and keep the register up to date” but does not explicitly require an annual declaration by members.

Ndamase said members were required to declare their financial interests and thereafter update their declaration if there were changes.

He could not say how many MPLs had updated their interests or when.

Members of the national parliament are required to submit a declaration every year, even if they have nothing to report or to update.

The Premier and her MECs are bound by the same rules as members of the national cabinet, which include an annual declaration even if there has been no change.

Ndamase said few ordinary members had updated their declarations over the past 10 months, which he took as an indication that there was “no change in their status”.

Sauls-August spokesman Lwandile Sicwetsha and Marawu’s spokesman Sisanda George said their MECs had declared but blamed the legislature for not updating the register.

“Our office has confirmation of receipt of these documents from the Office of the Premier,” Sicwetsha said.

Capa’s spokesman Ayabulela Ngoqo acknowledged Capa did not register but said she would by Wednesday.

A register dated November 6 and given to the Dispatch by Ndamase showed the three MECs had not submitted a declaration.

But the register, which was claimed to be up-to-date, included four former MPLs who resigned last year in January. It also included Nombulelo Mabandla who died last year.

Entries for Kiviet, Sicelo Gqobana, Xoliswa Tom, Jonas, Masualle and Mlibo Qoboshiyane reflected the interests and gifts declared in the previous register.

Only Pemmy Majodina’s register showed minor changes.

A check at the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (Cipro) showed Jonas, Capa and Tom may not have declared all their current directorships.

Cipro lists Jonas as an active director of three commercial companies – Africa Inform Business Solutions CC, Saita Trade and Investment (Pty) Ltd and UKHO Investment (Pty) Ltd.

Jonas has reported the Saita interests, but told the Dispatch he had resigned from all his commercial directorships after his appointment to the provincial executive.

Democratic Alliance MPL Bobby Stevenson told the Dispatch he had declared last year.

“I did not have anything to declare this year,” Stevenson said.

COPE provincial spokesman Nkosifikile Gqomo confirmed none of his party’s MPLs had updated their declarations. — mphumziz@