Sunday Times

Re­port on Mbete and Tsenoli ethics jumped the gun

- Baleka Mbete · African National Congress · Thabo Mbeki

Re “Speaker, No 2 miss key ethics dead­line” (Septem­ber 23), the joint com­mit­tee on ethics and mem­bers’ in­ter­ests notes with con­cern that the in­tegrity of its con­fi­den­tial pro­cesses is be­ing un­der­mined by in­di­vid­ual(s) with ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion from the of­fice of the reg­is­trar of mem­bers’ in­ter­ests.

The leak­ing and pub­li­ca­tion of names of par­lia­men­tar­i­ans al­leged to have de­faulted, even be­fore the com­mit­tee had con­cluded its due diligence process, is un­for­tu­nate, as it casts as­per­sions with­out ba­sis in fact.

The com­mit­tee is con­clud­ing its process of au­then­ti­cat­ing cer­tain dec­la­ra­tions be­fore sub­mit­ting its fi­nal re­port to par­lia­ment for con­sid­er­a­tion and ac­tion, where nec­es­sary. Re­gard­ing in­stances where dec­la­ra­tions may have been made af­ter the due date, the com­mit­tee in­ter­ro­gated each case.

In keep­ing with the prin­ci­ples of con­fi­den­tial­ity and due diligence, the com­mit­tee [did] not pre­ma­turely pub­lish names of those recorded for late com­pli­ance as, de­pend­ing on the cir­cum­stances or fur­ther sub­mis­sions, their cat­e­gori­sa­tion might change. This is stan­dard prac­tice and in com­pli­ance with the ethics code, and not for fear of em­bar­rass­ing the speaker and her deputy, as er­ro­neously pro­posed by your jour­nal­ist.

We e-mailed this clar­i­fi­ca­tion to the re­porter, but it was ig­nored, as it was not con­sis­tent with her nar­ra­tive.

The work of the joint com­mit­tee is an­chored to the in­tegrity of its pro­cesses and thor­ough ap­pli­ca­tion of the ethics code. This is made dif­fi­cult, how­ever, when those with ac­cess to its in­ter­nal doc­u­ments col­lude to leak half-baked and in­con­clu­sive de­tails. The al­le­ga­tions that names of al­leged de­fault­ers were with­held are a pre-emp­tive strike de­signed to un­fairly ques­tion the cred­i­bil­ity of the com­mit­tee’s out­comes.

Both the Speaker, Baleka Mbete, and the deputy Speaker, Lech­esa Tsenoli, like all MPs, have the right to be treated fairly and for their dec­la­ra­tions to be pro­cessed with­out fear or favour. The com­mit­tee is de­ter­mined to ful­fil its obli­ga­tions with in­tegrity and in strict com­pli­ance with the code.

Omie Singh, co-chair of the ethics com­mit­tee

Mbeki’s missed chances

The past week­end once again came alive for the peo­ple of SA be­cause while some were cel­e­brat­ing their var­i­ous her­itages, we also had those who spent their time en­gag­ing with the so-called pam­phlet re­leased by the for­mer pres­i­dent, Thabo Mbeki, through his foun­da­tion.

His cri­tique of the land de­bate must be wel­comed as it pro­vides us with a plat­form for 1,000 flow­ers to bloom and 1,000 minds to con­tend. It is these kinds of de­bates that will make us reach a proper con­clu­sion as we deal with this big ele­phant in the room.

How­ever, the for­mer pres­i­dent was not ide­o­log­i­cally and prag­mat­i­cally hon­est. He failed to point out why “his or­gan­i­sa­tion”, the ANC, was formed in the first place. In the main it was formed be­cause of bru­tal land dis­pos­ses­sion by the whites who formed the Union of SA in 1910. Land was the pri­mary fac­tor in the ear­lier strug­gles of the peo­ple of SA who re­alised that with­out it, they were noth­ing. But why should we be sur­prised, be­cause [Mbeki] is the one who co­erced us into neo-lib­eral poli­cies.

He should have at­tended the ANC con­fer­ence last De­cem­ber to raise those views. Or he should have just done what is best for the blacks of SA when he had time to do so dur­ing his two terms of of­fice.

Tom Mh­langa, Braam­fontein.

Joint ac­tion for safety

The Con­sti­tu­tional Court rul­ing on cannabis is one of the most ef­fec­tive since democ­racy in 1994. Lit­er­ally overnight, SA has be­come less harm­ful to its cit­i­zens. In­deed, the most harm­ful thing about cannabis is be­ing ar­rested for it.

I should know. I was a can­di­date prop­erty val­uer be­fore I was given a crim­i­nal record, which meant I could no longer at­test to val­u­a­tion re­ports in court. My strug­gle to set the mat­ter aside con­tin­ues. How­ever, I am con­sid­er­ably more op­ti­mistic be­cause of the court’s rul­ing and ex­pect that SA’s so­cial cli­mate will sta­bilise. Away with naysay­ers; we must all play our part in en­sur­ing a safer world for all.

K Goven­der, chair of KBC Spring­haven seed bank & harm re­duc­tion NPO, Pi­eter­mar­itzburg

Love, mem­ory and money

I read “Gen­eral’s lover finds him, then loses him” (Septem­ber 23), with in­ter­est. The same hap­pened to me — my life part­ner con­tracted Alzheimer’s and was sum­mar­ily re­moved from my care and all com­mu­ni­ca­tion was stopped.

I am not al­lowed to visit her. The ex­cuse was that they could bet­ter care for her; the rea­son ac­cord­ing to most peo­ple I have spo­ken to is money. Ac­cord­ing to the Alzheimer’s So­ci­ety, this of­ten hap­pens, es­pe­cially as in my case where my part­ner had ac­cu­mu­lated a lit­tle wealth.

There are two leg­isla­tive changes that would make this less likely; recog­ni­tion of civil unions and re­mov­ing the com­plex and ex­pen­sive re­quire­ment for a cu­ra­tor.

David Everett, Mod­der­fontein

Speed up pun­ish­ment

Crimes against women and chil­dren have in­creased dra­mat­i­cally dur­ing the re­cent past. This sit­u­a­tion must be tack­led be­fore it is too late. The pub­lic and stu­dents in par­tic­u­lar should be ed­u­cated to re­spect the sanc­tity of life and in­di­vid­ual lib­erty.

The gov­ern­ment and the ju­di­ciary are to be blamed [be­cause] de­lay in met­ing out pun­ish­ment em­bold­ens wrong­do­ers.

Nasiff Kader, Pi­eter­mar­itzburg

Write to PO Box 1742, Sax­on­wold 2132; SMS 33662; e-mail: tel­lus@sun­day­; Fax: 011 280 5150 All mail should be ac­com­pa­nied by a street ad­dress and day­time tele­phone num­ber. The Ed­i­tor re­serves the right to cut let­ters

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