Give MPs compulsory ethics training: ANC

09 September 2019 - 19:45 By Andisiwe Makinana
Members of parliament should undergo compulsory ethics training, says the ANC.
Members of parliament should undergo compulsory ethics training, says the ANC.
Image: Esa Alexander

The ANC in parliament wants all MPs to attend compulsory and regular ethics training.

It also wants to strengthen parliament's ethics rules to make sure this happens.

“As the ANC parliamentary caucus, we believe that our focus on raising the standards of ethical conduct from public representatives will go a long way in our efforts to fight against corruption and state capture,” said ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina on Monday.

She was addressing journalists following the party's three-day caucus lekgotla, which ended on Sunday.

“The issue of ethical conduct is a non-negotiable issue. Our conduct as members of the ANC must be beyond reproach, because the ANC must not be found on the wrong side of the law,” she said.

Majodina said her party had resolved that all MPs should undergo compulsory training because voters expected a particular conduct from the people they send to parliament as public representatives.

She said it was also important for all members to know the dos and don'ts because sometimes they unknowingly got corrupted.

“We must build a consciousness inside you that knows that I am doing this, but I had been told that it is wrong," she said.

The ethics committee in the fifth parliament was swamped with cases involving MPs, including the assault of women, alleged bribery of a parliamentary official and the assault of a journalist by an MP in the parliamentary precinct.

Majodina's deputy, Dorris Dlakude, said all those cases will be revived by the sixth parliament.

The ANC also wants to be tough on truant MPs. With a reduced majority in the National Assembly, each ANC MPs serves in a minimum of two portfolio committees.

Majodina said the whips would keep an attendance register for each MP and would no longer “willy-nilly” give leave of absence to MPs when parliament is in session.

“Every member knows that in his or her absence, parliament may not be able to move forward. So we have instilled that discipline to our members," she said.

Majodina revealed that President Cyril Ramaphosa, who attended the lekgotla on Saturday, also emphasised discipline, particularly to members of the executive, saying they should be in the house whenever they are expected to be there.

Responses to MPs' political statements were postponed last Tuesday due to members of the executive's truancy.