8 June 2018

South Africa: Register of Members' Interests - Baleka Mbete Fails to Disclose Speaker's Ball Sponsorship - and One in Ten Didn't Submit At All

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National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete held a briefing for journalists on Tuesday 22 May prior to their presentation of the Budget in Parliament. Photo by Leila Dougan

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete had no disclosure to make regarding the 2017 Speaker's Ball as she did not receive or benefit from any sponsorship because it was hosted by a "private individual" to celebrate women's leadership. That's according to Parliament following this week's release of the latest Register of Members' Interests that publicly records parliamentarians' financial interests, including sponsorships, benefits, shares, gifts and hospitality, pensions, properties and trusts. But with effectively one in 10 parliamentarians having failed to disclose, questions arise about compliance. Yet the 2017 register includes one MP who died in 2014.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete's Speaker's Ball following the 2017 State of the Nation Address (SONA) raised eyebrows as the invitation prominently featured her photo and an RSVP address that was an ANC email. Both the ANC and Parliament publicly said it had nothing to do with either, and neither contributed a cent.

"This dinner is not hosted nor funded by neither (sic) the African National Congress nor Parliament. It is a private dinner," Mbete was quoted as...

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