Parliament says it does not keep a record of MP’s who are facing criminal charges. It says the only disclosure system, is through the Ethics Code, which focuses on financial and other interests.
Following the ANC’s recent call for public representatives allegedly involved in corrupt activities to step aside, Parliament says it does not require disclosures of pending criminal charges and does not have a mechanism for such an MP to step aside.
Leave processes and attendance, are monitored through the Rules of the two houses and are regulated by political parties. Attendance records are submitted to Presiding Officers.
Former intelligence Minister and current Home Affairs Committee chair, Bongani Bongo, is facing allegations of corruption. Having appeared in court on numerous occasions, it’s alleged he tried to interfere with the Parliamentary probe into Eskom.
Political parties welcome Bongani Bongo’s arrest:
The ANC in Parliament says it is yet to receive communication from Luthuli House on how to deal with such matters.
Accountability Now, an NGO focusing on the rule of law being upheld, says the only way out of this lacuna is for parties to suspend errant members.
“It is correct that the rules of Parliament do not provide for stepping aside. If any particular member is under a cloud of impropriety but denies that they are guilty of any criminal activity or corruption, the correct way for the ANC to deal with it, it is to discipline their members, internally and either suspend or remove the members. When that happens, they automatically lose their membership of Parliament and the problem is solved. It’s time to get real about having representatives of the public, who are people of integrity and are worthy of representing the population of the republic of SA,” says the organisation’s Advocate Paul Hoffman.