MPs' business interests: Tougher ethics code prompts new deadline

2014-07-10 17:11

The deadline for MPs to declare their financial and business interests has been extended by two weeks, the joint chairs of Parliament’s ethics committee announced today.

“The joint committee on ethics and members’ interests has extended the deadline for MPs to disclose their financial interests from July 27 to August 15 this year,” committee co-chairperson Amos Masondo said.

“The joint rules stipulate that MPs must make the disclosure 30 days after the opening of Parliament, but the committee deemed it appropriate that the deadline be extended in order to afford MPs, especially the new ones, sufficient time to first familiarise themselves with the process so as to disclose accurately and accordingly.”

The deadline was extended after the committee met this week to adopt a tougher new code of conduct proposed by the previous Parliament.

The new code bars MPs and their immediate families from doing business with the state or benefiting from such work.

It prohibits work outside Parliament if members do not obtain permission from their respective political parties.

The new code will be sent to the National Assembly for ratification.

The current code was revised in the previous Parliament and adopted by the National Council of Provinces on March 26, Masondo said.

“The National Assembly programme committee will determine the date for consideration and adoption of the new code.”

The new code includes penalties, which have been slightly revised.

If approved, MPs who breach the code will be docked a month’s salary and suspended from parliamentary debates and committees for 30 days.

The previous penalty stipulated a 15-day suspension.

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