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SA: Statement by the Presidency, welcoming a report by the Public Protector on the President’s declaration of interests (25/04/2010)

25th April 2010


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The Presidency has noted the report of the Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, and welcomes her findings and recommendations relating to the declaration of financial interests, assets and liabilities to the Secretary of Cabinet by President Jacob Zuma.
The Public Protector has found that the submission of the declaration by President Zuma on 10 March 2010, constituted partial compliance with section 5 of the Executive Ethics Code, and that the President's failure to comply with the time requirements of the Executive Ethics Code and his conduct constitute a breach of section 5.2 of the Code.
However, she found that there is merit in the Presidency's concern regarding anomalies in the Act, which include lack of clarity regarding who the President should approach for permission to accept gifts of a value that exceeds R1000 as envisaged in section 4.2 of the Code. The anomalies caused the President's delay in submitting the declaration.
Advocate Madonsela found that there is also merit in the concern expressed by both DA Parliamentary Leader Mr Athol Trollip and the Presidency regarding the appropriate office or person to whom a report of the Public Protector involving the President should be submitted.
She noted that President Zuma had indicated that he regrets the delay that occurred in the preparation and submission of declarations to the Secretary of the Cabinet.
President Zuma has studied the report and welcomes its forward looking and constructive nature. It directs the Presidency and the Executive to undertake actions that would correct systemic problems with regards to the submission of the declaration of interests by members of the Executive. The report also makes recommendations to Parliament to consider an amendment to the Executive Members' Ethics Act to address all uncertainties or anomalies pointed out in the report, particularly those that caused the delays.
The report states that there is a systemic pattern of non-compliance with the time-lines and some of the requirements stipulated in the Code by a substantial number of members of the Executive, which should be attended to by the Cabinet urgently.
Section 3(2) of the Executive Ethics Act, 1998, provides that "the Public Protector must submit a report on the alleged breach of the code of ethics within 30 days of receipt of the complaint-
(a) to the President, if the complaint is against a Cabinet member, Premier or Deputy Minister.
In terms of section 3(5) (a) of the Executive Ethics Act, the President must within a reasonable time, but not later than 14 days after receiving a report on a Cabinet member or Deputy Minister referred to in subsection 3(2), submit a copy of the report and any comments thereon, together with a report on action taken or to be taken in regard thereto, to the National Assembly.
The Report will be presented to Cabinet for a discussion after which the President will submit it to Parliament.



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