Beauty treats, bonsai among MPs’ gifts

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GCIS

File photo: DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko

Parliament - One “Indian elephant” and an unusual bottle opener are among the gifts disclosed by MPs in the 2013 Register of Members' Interests, released at Parliament on Wednesday.

While at least a dozen of them declared they had “nothing to disclose” - including no house, land or property, no pension, no shares, and no directorships, benefits or other financial interests - other members were more forthcoming.

These include Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, who in the course of his efforts to promote the country as a holiday destination, was given one Nguni cow and a “sabre for opening wine bottles”, the last from the Cape Wine Academy.

His Cabinet colleague, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, declared over 60 gifts, including more than R2500 worth of “gin and bitters” from the Ghanaian High Commission.

Former human settlements minister Tokyo Sexwale, who was axed from his portfolio by President Jacob Zuma in July, also received many gifts, including a book titled “52 Secrets of Success for Business and Personal Leadership”.

He was given a “set of surgical scrubs” by the CEO of the Smile Foundation, and a “small, three-year-old bonsai tree” by banking group Absa.

Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, whose fashion sense was the focus of African National Congress interest in the National Assembly earlier this year, let show on her disclosure form that she received two sponsorships for beauty treatment.

These included “regular nail grooming” from the Zebra Nail Bar, and “regular hair styling and maintenance” from Wade & Co.

She was also among the scores of MPs who declared they had no pension scheme.

The man in charge of the country's spies, State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, was given a R1300 hat by his Botswanan counterpart, to be worn, presumably, when travelling incognito. Other gifts of Cuban cigars and rum, as well as Russian vodka and chocolates, will no doubt go down well on his next visit to a safe house.

Among those members who disclosed they had a part share in homes and apartments was DA MP Mike Waters, who over and above his two local properties, owns half of a three-bedroomed house in Australia.

African Christian Democratic Party leader Kenneth Meshoe revealed that his family had chipped in to buy him a R7000 suit, while a friend had given him a R350 pair of cufflinks.

Other unusual gifts include the “silver braai utensils”, value unknown, given to Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, who also received a “hand-blown glass bird” from the prime minister of Finland.

The register, notorious for its misspellings and strange descriptions, is hopefully wrong when it comes to Deputy Speaker Nomaindia Mfeketo's gift list.

Among those listed is “1 Indian elephant”, of unknown value, given to her by an “Indian delegation”. It is not known where she might keep it - under the form's land and property section she has declared “nothing to disclose”.

Sapa


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