Family photo of Members of Parliament outside the National Assembly, Cape Town. 21/05/2014, Elmond jiyane. GCIS

Johannesburg - MPs have been given an extension to declare their private interests because of the high number of new members joining Parliament.

They have until August 15 to declare all their private interests before the newly constituted joint committee on ethics and members’ interests.

The committee held its first meeting on Tuesday, where Amos Masondo and Aumsen Singh were elected as co-chairpersons.

Committee registrar Fazela Mahomed said the joint rules stipulated that members must disclose their interests 30 days after the opening of Parliament, which is usually during the State of the Nation address.

“The disclosure period would be July 22. But if you look at the time frame it would be unfair, because we have a lot of new members.

“Giving them until July 22 is just too short a period,” Mahomed said.

There was a bit of confusion over whether MPs would declare their interests under the old code of conduct, because the new provisions have not yet been accepted by the National Assembly, she added.

In his first address, Masondo said members of the committee should be “non-partisan” at all times.

“We must ensure that each case that comes before this committee is dealt with fairly and just,” Singh said.

The committee is the same one that found former communications minister Dina Pule had transgressed both Parliament’s ethical code and the country’s laws.

MPs must, among others, declare foreign travel paid for by outside sources and ownership of land and property. - Political Bureau

The Star