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Bongo v Parliament of South Africa and Others (21955/2018) [2019] ZAWCHC 69

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Bongo v Parliament of South Africa and Others (21955/2018) [2019] ZAWCHC 69

21st June 2019

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[1] The applicant, who is a member of the National Assembly and one-time Minister of State Security in the Cabinet of former President Zuma, is currently the subject of a parliamentary investigation into allegations that he attempted to bribe an employee of Parliament who was engaged as the evidence leader in hearings being conducted by a parliamentary committee into the affairs of three state owned enterprises, Eskom, Transnet and Denel.  He denies the allegations.  He seeks in the current proceedings to have the investigation set aside; alternatively, to obtain a positive interdict directed at expediting the completion of the current phase of the investigative procedure.

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[2] Eight respondents were cited in the application.  The first respondent is the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa.  The second respondent is the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests.  The third and fourth respondents are the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces in their capacities as such.  The fifth respondent is the Acting Secretary of Parliament.  The sixth respondent is the Acting Co-Registrar of Members’ Interests.  The co-chairpersons of the second respondent were cited as the seventh and eighth respondents, respectively.

[3] The investigation into the allegations against the applicant is being conducted by a sub-committee of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests (‘the sub-committee’).  The investigative proceedings are governed by rule 10 in the Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members’ Interests for Assembly and Council Members (‘the Code’). 

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[4] The Code, which is published on the Parliamentary website,[1] is administered by the Joint Committee established by Joint Rule 121, as provided for in Part 11 of the Joint Rules made in terms of s 45 of the Constitution.  The purpose and scope of the Code are set out in rule 2 in the Code.  It ‘is intended to provide a framework of reference for Members of Parliament when discharging their duties and responsibilities’.  It professes to outline ‘the minimum ethical standards of behaviour that South Africans expect of public representatives, including upholding propriety, integrity and ethical values in their conduct’.  And its stated purpose is ‘to create public trust and confidence in public representatives and to protect the integrity of Parliament’.

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