Booze, chopping boards and flowers listed as ministerial gifts


According to an official Parliamentary document, immediate past defence and military veterans minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula declared wooden chopping boards, a flower bouquet, bottle of vodka and a “clayport” among six items she received as “gifts and hospitality”.

The “clayport” is not given a value. Instead the applicable column in the latest available Register of Members’ Interests, dated November 2020 and published earlier this month on the official Parliament website, shows it being of Cuban origin. A Google search related the word “clayport” reveals a library in Durham, North Carolina so the presumption is incorrect spelling of “clay pot”.

The Russian Embassy gifted the now Speaker of the National Assembly (NA) a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of vodka, no brand name given and no value ascribed to either the alcohol or the flowers.

Locally, the Oudtshoorn military base home to the Infantry School of the SA Army, saw fit to honour the then defence minister with “a key holder, lady’s wallet and leather file”. Again, no monetary value is given.

Another gift to Mapisa-Nqakula was “Mandela Book of 100 Years of Madiba” from Parliament and, intriguingly, an item described as “The Plague” from the Rand Easter Show. One imagines the language skills of those responsible for compiling the Register at least temporarily deserted them and it should have been a “plaque”, probably to commemorate the national defence force’s participation in the annual event.

Mapisa-Nqakula’s replacement as the Cabinet member responsible for defence and military veterans, former NA Speaker Thandi Modise, lists three items as gifts and hospitality. All three are bottles of alcohol, described as champagne, 2015 Pinotage and “Russian vodka”. Values of the gifts from the French Ambassador and the Russian Consulate General are not listed.

Deputy Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thabang Makwetla was not on the receiving end of any gifts or hospitality during the period reviewed by the latest members’ interests register.