Politicians anger Asmal

2009-09-22 22:40


Johannesburg - Former minister Kader Asmal on Tuesday questioned the ethics of politicians involved in business at the same time as they hold public office.

"I find this relationship inherently contradictory [a]s there arises the temptation to use political power for narrow personal interests," Asmal said at the launch of the Institute for Security Studies database of politicians' assets and interests.

Asmal said people involved in public life must, as a matter of public policy, disclose their business and other financial interests or benefits.

"More regrettable is that according to the public service commission, large numbers of senior civil servants do not register their disclosure forms, although it is a requirement."

Sudden wealth enrichment

He said disclosure was important to identify if there was a conflict of interest in relation to a public representative's dealings but also to deal with sudden wealth or enrichment which would warrant further enquiry.

Asmal said there were some aspects of enforcement which need to be addressed, if respect for politicians or democratic institutions was to be maintained.

He called for the removal of the confidential section in all systems.

"Disclosure is part of a wider ethics world. Therefore, each public representative should produce an income tax certificate each year," he added.

The professor also called for penalties to be raised and for prosecutions to be sped up.

Code of ethics

He outlined ways to encourage disclosures saying that it was important to promote the significance of ethics codes amongst members of Parliament and legislatures, national and provincial executives and councillors in metropolitan areas.

Asmal said their webportal project "Who owns what" was now complete and citizens were able to hold government accountable.

The page will enable the general public to access the details of the disclosures made by politicians on their financial assets and business interests.

"For the first time the publicly accessible disclosure forms of politicians will be made available through a searchable database.

"This online database is the result of two years of research, which has yielded almost 6 000 records submitted between 2004 and 2008 by elected members of government," Asmal said.

Useful tool

He said the exercise would be ongoing and there would be a collection of the disclosures annually, which will be uploaded onto the webportal.

The database is the first of its kind on the continent.

"I hope that it will prove a useful tool for researchers, civil society [and] the media. Ultimately I hope it will promote not only accountability of, but also integrity in, public life in South Africa."

Read more on:    iss  |  kader asmal

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


6 life hacks you simply have to know

A few simple tricks can make your life so much easier!


For chic geeks...

Device lets disabled people talk through their nose
It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
This is why you should install iOS 8
17 photo illusions that look so real

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


You may take extra pride in your work today. You have a need to shine and be respected so you may put the extra effort and TLC...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.