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South African MPs Face Salary Cuts for Omitting Financial Disclosures

Published March 27, 2024
1 months ago

In a significant move upholding the integrity of South African governance, eleven members of Parliament from the African National Congress (ANC) have been subject to salary deductions due to their failure to disclose financial interests as mandated by law. The National Assembly, on Tuesday, took this stern step to reinforce the importance of transparency and adherence to ethical guidelines among its lawmakers.

Among those affected are two deputy ministers and heads of influential ANC leagues. Among the high-profile names are Deputy Minister in the Presidency Nokuzola Tolashe, also serving as the ANC Women’s League president, and Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister Judith Tshabalala. Other notable figures include ANC Youth League president Collen Malatji and Mandla Mandela.

Standing under scrutiny for their procrastination, cited technological issues, and personal emergencies, the lawmakers failed to meet the September 30, 2023, disclosure deadline. As a consequence, they will face financial penalties with a docking of their salaries, as declared in the parliamentary session.

The penalties were established following the unanimity of the joint committee on ethics and members’ interest, which underlined the foundational role of financial disclosure in enabling accountability for the MPs on an individual basis. Co-chairperson Bekizwe Nkosi emphasized the indispensable nature of disclosure in bolstering personal accountability of the members of Parliament.

The parliamentary code necessitates MPs to disclose their registerable interests annually, a responsibility that the eleven MPs neglected to fulfill. Acting Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli was resolute in ensuring that discipline was meted out fairly and transparently while addressing the House. He underscored the MPs' pledge to the Constitution and their legal obligations which includes the declaration of financial interests to rule out any possibility of a conflict of interest.

The House underscored the erosion of public trust that results from such omissions, labeling such failure as unacceptable and worthy of serious consequences, including immediate salary docking. The move aims to serve as a stark reminder to all members to comply with the code and fulfill their public responsibility.

In addition to the public reprimand, monetary fines equivalent to 20 days' salary for each first-time offender were levied. Coordination with relevant departments has been initiated to ensure the swift implementation of these penalties.

This decisive action taken by the National Assembly sends a clear message that transparency and ethical conduct for public office bearers are not just expected, but are stringently enforced. South Africans can find reassurance in their legislative body's commitment to ethical governance and strict adherence to codes of conduct that safeguard the public interest against potential conflicts.

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