(Executive Members should consult the Executive Members Ethics Act for further guidance)
To assist Members in the interpretation of the Code, the Office of the Registrar has attempted to respond to the frequently asked questions by Members. This merely serves as a guide and is not intended to be a comprehensive response to every situation. Where a member has any doubt she/he should consult the office of the Registrar with the full facts for a comprehensive response.
Shares and Financial Interests
Q. I have R5000 savings in a 30 day call account, Should I disclose?
A. No. You are not required to disclose savings in a bank.
Q. I purchase R500 worth of unit trusts each month, am I required to disclose these unit trusts.
A. Yes, Unit trusts are portions of shares and therefore must be disclosed.
Q. I am a beneficiary of my family’s retail business. I am not involved in the running of the
A. business, should I disclose? Yes, you should disclose your share of the business under financial interests.
Q. I have a broker who regularly trades in shares, it is difficult for me to keep track of the changes what must I do?
A. You are required to reflect your interests on the date of your disclosure therefore you must disclose the shares you hold on the date of disclosure.
Q. I have a share in an informal business (spaza shop) must I disclose?
A. Yes, you are required to disclose all financial interests.
Q. I am part of a stokvel, should I disclose?
A. Not normally, unless that stockvel invests the money raised,in shares or businesses.
Q. My shares and those of my children are held in a family trust, should I disclose?
A. Yes. You are required to disclose the details of your share of the financial Interests in the public section. All interests pertaining to your minor children must be disclosed in the confidential section of the Register.
Remunerated Employment outside Parliament.
Q. I have a medical practice, must I disclose?
A. Yes you must disclose and obtain the permission of your party whip to continue with this employment.
Q. I have a part time job in a government department must I disclose?
A. Section 47(1) of the Constitution states that a member may not be appointed by or be in service by the state unless that employment has been declared compatible with those functions by National Legislation.
Q. The Code states that my employment must be compatible with my role as a Member? What does this mean?
Any employment that conflicts with the Members role as a Member, for example, if a member is employed part time by a major communications company and is part of the Communications Portfolio Committee, there may be a conflict of Interests in the Member’s oversight role in respect of issue raised by the communications company. Each circumstance regarding a potential or perceived conflict will have to be decided on its merit. Where any doubt exists you may contact the Registrar with the full particulars of your situation for a considered response.
Q. I have been appointed to the Audit Committee, is this allowed?
A. Yes, but it must be disclosed.
Directorships and Partnerships.
Q. I am Director of a company that is dormant, must I disclose?
A. Yes you are required to disclose. You may indicate that the company is dormant.
Q. I have resigned my interests in my CC, I am not sure certain if the Registrar of Companies has been informed, does it matter?
A. Members are required to take personal responsibility to ensure that the Registrar of companies processes the resignation.
Q. I will be resigning my Directorship in three months do I have to disclose.
A. Yes, all interests that a Member holds on the date of disclosure must be included.
Consultancies and Retainerships.
Q. My earnings vary in relation to the work I do, what amount must I disclose?
A. You must disclose your total earnings for the disclosure period.
Q. I am part of a legal consultancy, I cannot list all my clients, what must I do?
A. You may disclose the details of your firm, however caution must be exercised to ensure that your private consultancy does not create a conflict of interest for you. You must ensure that a client’s interest does not interfere with your role as a member.
Q. I receive a monthly stipend for advice that I offer to my company, how must I disclose this?
A. The payment must be disclosed in the category of retainerships.
Q. I assisted the community in obtaining sponsorship for the computer centre at the local school, should I disclose this?
A. No. If you or your family have not personally benefited from the fundraiser you are not required to disclose.
Q. The local fax hire company has sponsored the hire cost for facsimile machine that I use in my home constituency work, should I disclose?
A. Yes. If you personally benefit from a sponsorship you are required to disclose. Gifts and Hospitality
Q. I am reluctant to ask what the value of the gift that I receive, what must I do?
A. If you estimate that the gift exceeds R350 you must disclose the gift and write ‘value unknown’ in the value column. Members are urged to err on the side of caution.
Q. I am a traditional leader, traditionally I am receive gifts from the community I serve, should I disclose these gifts?
A. Yes, if the gifts exceed R350. It may require you to keep a diary of gifts to ensure complete disclosure.
Q. Should I disclose birthday presents/wedding presents?
A. Not ordinarily. However should you receive a gift from a person who may be perceived to benefit from your role as a MP, you should disclose.
Q. As a Member of Parliament I am invited to banquets or community feasts should I disclose.
A. If the value of the hospitality exceeds R350 you are required to disclose.
Q. The person who gave me this gift said that he would not like me to disclose his details, can I make a confidential disclosure?
A. The Code requires that details of gifts are made public and the Joint Committee will decide on any exemptions of these requirements. In general members are advised not to give a donor an undertaking that the receipt of the gift will be confidential.
Q. Should I disclose my inheritance?
A. If you inherit a house, property or shares these must be disclosed in the relevant sections. However you are not required to disclose any cash, livestock.
Q. I think that a gift that I received may create a conflict of interest for me, what should I do?
A. The Code does not stipulate how a member should deal with a gift that creates a conflict of interests. However it would be best not to accept the gift or to return it. If this cannot be done I would advise that the gift be donated to a worthy cause.
Q. I have received a gift with a value exceeding R100 000, what should I do?
A. The Code does not preclude Members from accepting gifts of any value, however the Member must carefully consider whether the receipt of the gift is likely to compromise his/her integrity or the integrity of Parliament.
Q. I went to a closing down sale and bought goods at a fraction of the price, must I disclose these discounts?
A. No. You are only required to disclose discounts that you receive because you are a member.
Q. At a recent portfolio committee meeting the MD of a company that manufactures televisions informed me that he would give me a TV at half price? Should I disclose?
A. Yes. This benefit is obtained because of your role as a Member.
Q. Should I disclose frequent flyer air miles?
A. It is not required to disclose this benefit, as it is applicable to all frequent flyers and is not only a special benefit to members. However some Members have erred on the side of caution and disclosed, even though it is not required.
Q. I have received an interest free loan from a friend should I disclose?
A. Yes, if the value of the interest exceeds R350 then the benefit must be disclosed. For example, a loan R3500 for a period of 12 months at 10% per annum would accrue a R350 interest benefit.
Q. My party has paid for my flights to attend a conference should I disclose.
A. No, travel paid for by the Members political party need not be disclosed.
Q. I have my own export company and I travel regularly for business do I need to disclose?
A. No, If the trip is directly related to the business and is paid for by the business.
Q. I am a Member of an advisory Board for an NGO, they give me a payment of R2000 in lieu of travel expenses should I disclose.
A. Yes, as the payment is not repaid on the basis of a claim but can be construed as an accrued benefit. Land and Property
Q. I have a home, but the property is bonded, should I disclose.
A. Yes, if the title deeds are in your name.
Q. My home is built on communal land in a rural area. My traditional leader allocated some land to me, I don’t own it, should I disclose?
A. Yes, you should disclose with a note that it is communal land.
Q. One of the properties I own is a family property that I jointly own with my siblings, should I disclose?
A. Yes, your portion of ownership of the property should be disclosed. Pension
Q. Should I disclose details of my contribution to the Parliamentary Pension Fund?
A. No you are only required to disclose details of pension income, not contributions.
Q. What is contained in the confidential section?
A. The confidential section consists of the details of your spouses’ interests, it contains details of his/her shares and financial interests, directorships and partnerships, consultancies and retainerships, gifts and hospitality received, travel paid for by others, land and property and any benefits that he/she receives. It also has information pertaining to the members income in respect of income from outside employment, directorships and partnerships, and also the value of benefits received.
Q. What happens if my spouse refuses to disclose?
A. The Code requires that you disclose insofar as you are aware. Your partner is not compelled to disclose, however in the interests of transparency you should endeavour to disclose.
Q. My income as a director varies as it depends on the amount of work the company receives, how do I disclose?
A. You are required to disclose the income for a particular period. You must disclose your income for the period of disclosure.
Q. It appears as if the public section and confidential identical is it duplicated?
A. The confidential section has two components, namely it is the same ten categories of disclosure for the members’ spouses; and it requires details of remuneration in those instances where the members receive income.
Q. There is no duplication I prefer to disclose all my and my spouses interests in the public section can I do so?
A. Yes, you may.
Q. Should I disclose my pension contributions?
A. No, you are only required to disclose your pension income.
Q. Where can I obtain further information?
A. From any Member of the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members interest, or the
Office of the Registrar,
at V124 Old Assembly Building,
telephone 021 403 2476/77.
OTHER REQUIREMENTS OF THE CODE
Q. Are the other requirements of the Code?
A. Yes, firstly you may not lobby for remuneration. This means that you cannot attempt to influence any decision or policy on behalf of any interest group who pays you to do so. Members can lobby for interests of their constituents, which differs from promoting the personal interests or the particular interests of a group or person.
Q. What should I do in event of a conflict of interests?
A. You are required to declare your interests and recuse yourself from all the forums at which the matter in which you have an interest is being discussed. Ensure that the recusal is in writing and submit a copy to the Registrar of Members Interests for the details to be retained in your record of interests.