DA to lay charges against ministers at Parliament's ethics committee after Sodi testimony

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DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone (Jan Gerber/News24)
DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone (Jan Gerber/News24)
  • The DA will report ministers and deputy ministers to Parliament's Joint Committee on Ethics and Members' Interests.
  • This after evidence before the Zondo commission from tenderpreneur Edwin Sodi.
  • The DA couldn't find any declarations of the money they allegedly received.

The DA will report the ministers and deputy ministers who allegedly received money from tenderpreneur Edwin Sodi to Parliament's Joint Committee on Ethics and Members' Interests.

On Tuesday, Sodi testified before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture that Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, in his former capacity as ANC treasurer-general, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi, State Security Deputy Minister Zizi Kodwa and Deputy Communications Minister Pinky Kekana, amongst others, received payments from him between 2013 and 2019.

"The DA ran an extensive check of Parliament's register of members' interests for the period these payments were made. None of the individuals mentioned during Sodi's session with the commission declared such payments," DA chief whip Natasha Mazzone said in a statement.

"This is a direct contravention of Section 5 of Parliament's Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members' Interests regarding Conflict of Financial or Business Interests."

Section 5.1.1 of the code required members to "resolve any financial or business conflict of interest in which he or she is involved in his or her capacity as a public representative, in favour of the public interest; and 5.1.2 always declare such interest, and where appropriate, the Member should recuse himself or herself from any forum considering or deciding on the matter".

ALSO READ | State capture inquiry: Director says his company did not have 'expertise' to handle asbestos

"While there is little doubt that these Members of Parliament will offer all manner of excuses to explain away their dirty hands, the fact is that if their dealings with Sodi were irreproachable, they would have had no qualms declaring these payments," Mazzone said.

"As it stands, none of the excuses they can come up with will suffice. The Ethics Committee is duty-bound to investigate this matter and should do so urgently. And the DA expects more than a mere slap on the wrist - as is the current trend - for these perpetrators of dark deeds if South Africa is ever to wipe corruption completely from its slate."

Sodi's company, Blackhead Consulting, obtained a R255 million asbestos contract from the Free State provincial administration in 2014. The contract was found to have been irregular by the Auditor-General and Public Protector.

On Monday, Free State Human Settlements HOD Nthimotse Mokhesi testified before the Zondo commission that entered into a trust to own a residential property with Sodi. This, while the department was still making payments on the contract, despite the AG's finding.

On Wednesday, the Hawks arrested two persons involved in the asbestos contract - the first arrests flowing from the commission.

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