Parliament’s joint committee on ethics and members’ interests has launched a formal probe into allegations of a conflict of interest involving communications minister Dina Pule and last May’s ICT Indaba in Cape Town.
The committee, which is chaired by veteran ANC MP Ben Turok, this week communicated its plans to launch a formal probe and has established a subcommittee to take the investigation further.
Democratic Alliance MP and communications spokesman Marian Shinn says her party was notified earlier this week about the committee’s intention to launch a formal probe into the matter.
The allegations stem from newspaper reports that claimed that an alleged romantic partner of Pule’s, Phosane Mngqibisa, benefited financially from the staging of the event.
Public Protector Thuli Mandonsela is also investigating the matter and is expected to table her report at the end of March.
Shinn says the DA asked parliament’s ethics committee to look into possible conflicts of interest involving Pule and the ICT Indaba in mid-2012. Since then, she says, the committee has been collecting information and statements from relevant parties.
She says she doesn’t know when the subcommittee will begin its work.
After the subcommittee has completed its work, the ethics committee must then decide if there’s reason to take the matter further. If there is, there are a range of options available. “It can censure her in the house, or it could lead to criminal charges if need be, but that hasn’t often happened.”
However, if Pule ceases to be an MP — if President Jacob Zuma redeploys her or she resigns, for example — then the investigation by the ethics committee will immediately be terminated.
Pule’s spokesman, Siya Qoza, says the minister has been “cooperating fully with the ethics committee and will continue to do so”. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media