NCOP adopts ethics reports, singles out MPs who failed to disclose interests

 ·26 Apr 2024

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) has adopted two reports by the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests.

The first report named, shamed and recommended disciplinary action against members of parliament and the NCOP who breached the ethical code of conduct by not disclosing their interests for 2023.

The second report amended and updated the Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosures of Members’ Interests for the National Assembly and Permanent Council (NCOP) members.

Non-disclosure of interests

The first report, compiled and tabled by the ethics committee, revealed that out of 454 members, 11 failed to disclose their financial and other registrable interests by the deadline of 30 September 2023 – ten from the National Assembly and one Permanent Delegate of the NCOP.

All of these 11 individuals are ANC members.

Members of Parliament are required to disclose their registrable interests annually, and by not doing so, are in contravention of the Code Of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members’ Interests.

The Code of Conduct still requires them to submit a “nil” return if they have no registrable interests.

The committee recommended disciplinary actions against the members, including a fine not exceeding one month’s pay (around R100,000) and receiving a “reprimand in the House.”

Amendment of the Code of Conduct

The NCOP also endorsed a report updating the Code of Ethical Conduct and Members’ Interest Disclosures for Assembly and Council members.

Parliament said the revision aims to “ensure that it addresses contemporary challenges.”

The updated Code for Members of Parliament addresses the ethical use of social media, aiming to mitigate reputational risks for Parliament by proposing guidelines to prevent incitement of violence, hate speech, and racism, and introduces stricter penalties for violations.

These penalties include fines, suspension of parliamentary participation rights, and salary reductions based on the breach’s severity.

Additionally, the updated code suggests conducting risk-based lifestyle audits for certain members, such as Presiding Officers, Committee Chairpersons, Chief Whips, those flagged by the e-disclosure system, and others identified by the committee.

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