‘I wasn’t trying to hide anything’ – Maimane speaks out on ‘oversight’

2015-11-06 11:59
Mmusi Maimane. Picture: Muntu Vilakazi

Mmusi Maimane. Picture: Muntu Vilakazi

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Cape Town - A complaint of alleged unethical behaviour hanging over his head, DA leader Mmusi Maimane has insisted that he had “nothing to hide”, but admitted that failing to declare his sponsors was a “grave oversight”.

The ANC this week submitted a complaint against Maimane and a few other DA MPs to Parliament’s joint committee on ethics and members’ interests. This was after the DA MPs failed to declare all their financial interests – specifically the sponsorships they received for internal election campaigns leading up to the DA leadership conference earlier this year.

The register of members’ interests was released a few weeks ago.

Maimane spoke out on the issue for the first time on Thursday.

“It was a grave oversight on the part of my office, and [it] was corrected immediately upon discovery of the oversight. The specific amounts of the donations and names of the donors have been submitted to the registrar of interests,” he said.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said earlier that donations to Maimane’s campaign reached nearly R192 000. The party has described the failure to declare the donations as an oversight.

Maimane emphasised the importance of declaring all financial interests.

He said there had been confusion over who had to declare the donations, because he hadn’t received the money himself, and the declaration was made as soon as questions were asked about it.

“We are not intent on hiding any information.”

In the run-up to the leadership congress, Wilmot James, who ran against Maimane, challenged him to name his donors, but Maimane didn’t.

Maimane said that his donors weren’t existing DA donors, because that would have been against the party’s rules.

He said he could reveal the names to Media24, but hadn’t done this by the time this report was published.

He also criticised the ANC said the ethics committee was now setting up to deal with DA MPs, “while not a single ANC member who has stood for a position has ever declared any internal campaign funding at all”.

He referred to ministers such as Angie Motshekga and Bathabile Dlamini, who recently ran for ANC Women’s League positions.

ANC spokesperson Moloto Mothapo dismissed the accusations as “cheap propaganda” and said the DA was using it to downplay its own scandal.

“There are no individual election campaigns in the ANC and therefore there is nothing to explain.”

Unlike the DA, there was nothing in the ANC’s constitution that encouraged candidates running for internal positions to have their own election campaigns – ANC branches decided on candidates and took those names to an elective conference, he said.

Meanwhile, the ethics committee has not yet decided on a date for its next meeting.

The additional information would now be included in the register of members’ interests, but would first have to be presented to the committee before being released.

Read more on:    da  |  mmusi maimane  |  cape town  |  politics  |  parliament 2015

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