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Public Protector to investigate DIRCO Ministerís security sponsorship

Ian Davidson, DA Spokesperson on International Relations and Co-operation
22 February 2012

The Public Protector has confirmed that the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, will be investigated for possible violations of the Executive Ethics Code.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) requested the Public Protector to investigate the Minister following reports last year of her failure to disclose a payment of more than R100 000 for security at her private home in Polokwane in her declaration of interests.

The tab for the Minister’s security arrangements was picked up by Premier Fishing, a subsidiary of Sekunjalo Investments — the company currently embroiled in a fishing tender scandal with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The Ethics Code protects the public by preventing undue influence on the actions and decisions of Ministers. Gifts and benefits of more than R350 must be disclosed to ensure that the influence of Ministers cannot be bought.

The reported payment by Premier Fisheries was particularly concerning given the apparent sway that Sekunjalo executive chairperson, Iqbal Survé, seems to hold with DIRCO and President Zuma.

Survé is reportedly a regular member of official business delegations accompanying President Zuma, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane and other government leaders on overseas state visits. In 2010, he joined President Zuma and Minister Nkoana-Mashabane on a trip to China and in 2011, he joined an ANC delegation at the United Nations in New York.

We welcome the Public Protector’s willingness to scrutinise the Minister’s possible misconduct.  The declaration of gifts and benefits by Ministers is essential in promoting transparency. Ministers must at all time act in a way that puts the needs of the South African people before those of individuals seeking to buy favour.