Categories: GovernmentNews
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2023-10-27 10:23 AM

South Africa’s Top Politicians Reveal Wealth and Gifts

  • The 2023 Register of Members' Interests sheds light on South African MPs' financial assets, property holdings, and gifts.
  • Notable declarations include Deputy President Paul Mashatile's extensive assets, Julius Malema's diverse business interests, and Enoch Godongwana's various gifts and properties.
  • The release emphasizes transparency in politics, but some declarations raise questions about comprehensive disclosure and uniformity.
By Miriam Matoma


In a bid to ensure transparency and instill public trust and confidence in parliament, Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests has released the Register of Members’ Interests for 2023. This comprehensive report sheds light on the financial interests, property holdings, and gifts received by Members of Parliament (MPs) in South Africa. While many MPs have embraced the spirit of the register, declaring their interests with clarity, some have come under scrutiny for their declarations. This article delves into the notable highlights from the 2023 register, focusing on prominent politicians who have shared their financial interests and assets.

Transparency in the Political Sphere

The release of the 2023 register emphasizes the importance of transparency and accountability within the South African political landscape. MPs are mandated to disclose significant holdings in businesses, shares they own, and gifts received. This practice is essential to build public trust and ensure that the interests of the nation take precedence.

Exclusions: President Cyril Ramaphosa and Non-MP Cabinet Ministers

Notably, the register only includes declarations from Members of Parliament, which excludes President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is not required to declare his interests as he is not an MP. Additionally, two cabinet ministers appointed by the president, Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel and Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, are also exempt from declaration.

New Entries: Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana and Deputy President Paul Mashatile

The 2023 register introduces Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana and Deputy President Paul Mashatile, both of whom took office after the 2022 register was compiled and subsequently published in April 2023. This marks the first time their interests have been disclosed, shedding light on their financial positions and assets.

Gifts Range from Trinkets to Extravagance

The declarations in the register reveal a wide spectrum of gifts given to MPs. Gifts vary from simple trinkets like pens and notepads to extravagant offerings, including the use of private jets. Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe, for instance, declared a non-descript “picture” valued at R50,000. Such disparities in the value of gifts raise questions about transparency and the need for a comprehensive disclosure process.

Notable Declarations

  1. Deputy President Paul Mashatile
    • Business: R34.3 million in shares/policies through Old Mutual.
    • Property: 800 sqm house in Sandton, Gauteng, and a 1,200 sqm house in Midrand, Gauteng.
    • Gifts: A diverse range of gifts, including Russian vodka, ornaments from Chinese and Indian officials, and a Samsung Z Fold 5, among others.
  2. Julius Malema – EFF Leader
    • Business: Director of Mgagao Shambo Pty, involved in farming, events, and sales. Beneficiary of multiple trusts.
    • Property: No property disclosures.
    • Gifts: Various gifts, including A4 leather pocket files and cutlery sets, among others.
  3. John Steenhuisen – DA Leader
    • Business: No business-related disclosures.
    • Property: No property disclosures.
    • Gifts: Gifts include Durban July tickets and an ‘rhino darting’ experience from Kilima Private Game Reserve.
  4. Enoch Godongwana – Finance Minister
    • Business: 100% shareholding of Zabelolo Resources, beneficiary of Tyalibongo Trust.
    • Property: Multiple properties in Eastern Cape and Gauteng.
    • Gifts: Various gifts, including a Huawei tablet and “instrument,” a notebook from the CEO of Nedbank, and more.
  5. Pravin Gordhan – Public Enterprises Minister
    • Business: R5.83 million in shareholdings at various listed companies.
    • Property: R3 million flat in Durban.
    • Gifts: A variety of gifts, such as small carry document bags and Chinese green tea.
  6. Gwede Mantashe – Mineral Resources and Energy Minister
    • Business: No business-related disclosures.
    • Property: 300 sqm home in Boksburg.
    • Gifts: A unique “picture” worth R50,000, as well as a variety of other gifts.
  7. Aaron Motsoaledi – Home Affairs Minister
    • Business: Close to a combined R300,000 in shares in Media24, Investec, and Old Mutual, beneficiary of the PA Motsoaledi Trust.
    • Property: Several residential dwellings and land.
    • Gifts: No gift disclosures.
  8. Bheki Cele – Police Minister
    • Business: No business-related disclosures.
    • Property: 1-acre property in Durban.
    • Gifts: VIP tickets to the Durban July and cultural gifts from Lesotho and the Annual Police Day.

Conclusion

The release of the Register of Members’ Interests for 2023 is a critical step in ensuring transparency within the South African political landscape. While many MPs have diligently disclosed their interests, some declarations have raised eyebrows, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive and uniform disclosure process. These revelations provide the public with insights into the financial interests and assets of the nation’s top politicians, fostering accountability and public trust in the parliamentary system.

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Miriam Matoma

Miriam is a freelance writer, she covers economics and government news for Rateweb. You can contact her on: Email: miriam@rateweb.co.za Twitter: @MatomaMiriam