Cape Town - The deadline for MPs to declare their financial and business interests has been extended by two weeks, the joint chairpersons of Parliament's ethics committee announced on Thursday.

“The joint committee on ethics and members' interests has extended the deadline for Members of Parliament to disclose their financial interests from 27 July to 15 August this year,” committee co-chairman Amos Masondo told reporters.

“The joint rules stipulate that MPs must make the disclosure 30

days after the opening of Parliament, but the committee deemed it appropriate that the deadline be extended in order to afford MPs, especially the new ones, sufficient times to first familiarise themselves with the process so as to disclose accurately and accordingly.”

The deadline was extended after the committee met this week to adopt a tougher new code of conduct proposed by the previous Parliament.

The new code bars MPs and their immediate families from doing business with the state or benefiting from such work.

It prohibits work outside Parliament if members do not obtain permission from their respective political parties.

The new code will be sent to the National Assembly for ratification.

The current code was revised in the previous Parliament and adopted by the National Council of Provinces on March 26, Masondo said.

“The National Assembly programme committee will determine the date for consideration and adoption of the new code.”

The new code includes penalties which have been slightly revised.

If approved, MPs who breach the code will be docked a month's salary and suspended from parliamentary debates and committees for 30 days.

The previous penalty stipulated a 15-day suspension.

Sapa