Parliament - The ANC on Monday came out in support of a ban on public representatives, including Cabinet ministers, doing business with the state enshrined in the revised code of ethical conduct for MPs.
The code is due to be passed by the National Assembly on Tuesday, following its adoption by the National Council of Provinces in late March.
ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani told a media briefing it could come into effect immediately and prohibit all members of Parliament, provincial legislatures and Cabinet, as well as the president, from transacting with government.
“The code says you cannot do business with government. The code is very clear. It is coming into effect as soon as it is passed.
“Immediately once the code has been adopted... all of us are forbidden from doing business with the state, including the president, all of us.”
City Press reported at the weekend that 19 members of President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet, including the president himself, hold private business interests, according to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC).
CIPC records show Zuma owns one active company called Michigan Investments, registered in 1992. His spokesman Mac Maharaj said the company was dormant and the presidency was trying to delist it from the register.
Sizani said the revised code would get rid of the anomaly that members of Cabinet were reported to be doing business with the state “whilst making laws forbidding civil servants from doing the same”.
City Press reported that Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Bheki Cele owns a company called Ithembelihle with a business partner Lawrence Mazibuko, who in turns directs a security company employed by a number of government clients, including the SA Revenue Service.
Ministers and MPs have until August 15 to make full declarations of their business interests to Parliament.
Cosatu has said the new code does not go far enough because, in its view, public officers should be banned from owning private companies, not merely from refraining to do business with government.