ANC MPs to be questioned

2012-02-18 00:00

THREE senior ANC MPs, including a minister, will be called on by Parliament’s standing committee on ethics and members’ interests to answer media allegations of misconduct.

The three are International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane , finance portfolio committee chairperson Thaba Mufamadi and transport portfolio committee chairperson Ruth Bhengu.

The standing committee, chaired by ANC veteran MP Professor Ben Turok, studied media reports and decided to send letters to the three MPs regarding their content.

Investigations into two other senior MPs, Philip Dexter (the former Cope MP who recently joined the ANC as an ordinary member) and Enoch Godongwana (former deputy minister of economic development), had to be abandoned as they had resigned as members of parliament.

According to a report in the Mail & Guardian in November last year, Nkoana-Mashabane neglected to declare in the Parliament’s register of members’ interests that the Cape company, Premier Fishing, had paid for security at a property she owns in Polokwane.

The report said the cost amounted to about R8 600 for armed security guards. Her spokesperson denied in November that the minister knew anything about the arrangement, saying her brother took care of the property.

Questions to Mufamadi arise from a report last month in the Sunday Independent, according to which he has an interest in a company that leases property to government departments in Pretoria.

The company, Manaka Property Investments, is one of 18 of which Mufamadi is a director, according to the parliamentary register of members’ interests for 2011.

According to the newspaper, Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale, a supporter of ANC youth leader Julius Malema, is also a director of Manaka.

The allegation is that Manaka apparently charges the state too much for rent, yet obtains the contracts because of political connections.

Bhengu resigned as MP a few years ago during the Travelgate scandal, but was re-elected in 2009.

The Sowetan reported that Bhengu and the taxi association Santaco were in conflict because Bhengu was apparently going to supply oil for use in Santaco members’ taxis through a company in which she has an interest.

The portfolio committee that Bhengu chairs has oversight of the taxi industry, giving rise to questions about a possible clash of interests.

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