No gifts or hospitality for Defence Minister and Deputy

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The public representatives named by President Cyril Ramaphosa to oversee the national defence and military veterans portfolio do not accept gifts and or hospitality making them, in American parlance, “straight arrows”.

The latest Register of Members’ Interests issued by Parliament shows neither Minister Thandi Modise nor her deputy Thabang Makwetla declared any gifts, hospitality or travel. “Nothing to disclose” both informed Parliament’s Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests. Modise owns Sanlam shares, estimated to be worth R40 000, and is not a director of or partner in any consultancy. Both she and Makwetla state they received no retainers or sponsorships in the period under review.

The co-chairs of Parliament’s two defence oversight committees – Cyril Xaba and Mamagase Nchabeleng – informed the ethics committee of gifts totalling over R36 000. These were specified as “whiskey approximately R2 000” by Xaba with Nchabeleng gifted air travel to and in the United States worth R34 000. Nchabeleng also lists a “special pension” as a military veteran.

Another qualifying for straight arrow status is shadow defence and military veterans minister Kobus Marais. The Democratic Alliance (DA) public representative notes the cost of “oversight visits and entitlement claims” received from Parliament as worth reporting.

His deputy in the DA shadow cabinet, Maliyakhe Shelembe, is another “nothing to disclose” parliamentarian.

Others in the National Assembly who contribute to the national defence debate and list pensions are Washington Mafanya (Economic Freedom Fighters) and Bantu Holomisa (United Democratic Movement).  Mafanya’s is a “special pension, public” with Holomisa stating his is a GEPF (Government Employees Pension Fund) one.

The lone Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) National Assembly (NA) member active in defence issues, Russel Cebekhulu, according to the Register, declared nothing.