MPs reveal all - some too much...

2012-10-24 22:36
Johnny Walker blue label (Picture: Supplied)

Johnny Walker blue label (Picture: Supplied)

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Cape Town - Numerous bottles of booze and an embarrassing business connection are to be found in Parliament's latest Register of Members' Interests.

It was adopted on Wednesday by Parliament's joint committee on ethics and members' interests.

The document reveals there are at least a dozen members of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces who appear to own absolutely nothing.

This includes long-serving Deputy Environment Minister Rejoyce Mabudafhasi.

She entered "nothing to disclose" in her declaration of shares and other financial interests, sponsorships, benefits, travel, land and property, and pensions, among others.

The United Democratic Movement's Stanley Ntapane may well be wishing he had kept his list equally concise.

Of the four directorships he revealed, one has to do with the "Sex Travel Agency", which deals, according to his declaration, with "travel bookings and accommodation".

Several ministers received some portfolio-appropriate gifts.

These include Communications Minister Dina Pule, whose admirers must have taken the adage "say it with flowers" to heart, for she was sent no less than 38 bunches.

Energy Minister Dipuo Peters received, fittingly, a "demo wind turbine" and a "solar light".

More ominously, perhaps, she was also given a "glass nuclear power plant model", value unknown, by the Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation.

Former defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu was given an "antique compass" by the Chief of the SA Navy, which will presumably come in useful as she navigates a way through her new public service and administration portfolio.

Among his gifts, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan declared a R350 "stress ball", which might prove useful as he mulls his options ahead of his delivery of the medium-term budget policy statement in the House on Thursday. He also received a "facial hamper".

Among the gifts given to his predecessor, now Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel, was a book titled How the Poor Live on Under Two Dollars a Day.

International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane got a book from the Mexican foreign affairs ministry, Tequila and Climate Change.

The title suggests a possible reason for the long impasse at the 2010 Climate Change Conference held in that country.

Booze the gift of choice

Among the more unusual gifts were the two "chicken ornaments" given to the other Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane; a "look-a-like ostrich egg" from Zimbabwe received by State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele; and DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko's "red cedarwood carving of a kangaroo".

Livestock proved popular with some MPs, with numerous sheep given as gifts, plus two "heifer cows" of which Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti declared he "did not take possession".

Booze, too, featured large as a gift of choice, including several bottles of Johnny Walker whisky.

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba received, among other things, the books Wisdom and The Mystery of Capital.

It is not known if he consulted them before stamping his approval on the recent massive government bail-out for SA Airways.

Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson was given an R800 fish. She also listed, among her land and property, a "flat" and "summer house" in Stockholm, Sweden.

NCOP chairperson Johannes Mahlangu may find the "khaki fever shirt" he was given useful during heated debates in that House.

His National Assembly counterpart Max Sisulu must be scratching his head about the book he was given, titled In Pas met Passie.

Among those on top when it comes to declared directorships and partnerships is Cope's Tozamile Botha, who declared no less than 62 separate entities in which she has a stake, including real estate, construction, general trading, debt collection, and hotel businesses.

Adding a touch of irony to the 505-page document is Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.

She gave the location of her 420m² residence as Hartbeespoort, close to the eponymous dam, arguably one of the most polluted reservoirs in the world.

- SAPA
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