South Africa’s Finance Minister to be investigated for breach of executive code of ethics

The office of the Public Protector said on Tuesday it would look into a complaint by the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party about an investment, carried out when Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene was chairman of the Public Investment Corporation [PIC] and deputy finance minister. The top anti-graft body would investigate whether the finance minister breached ethics guidelines.

DA MP David Maynier also said on Tuesday that he had requested an investigation on Friday “in terms of Section 4 of the Executive Members Ethics Act (No 82 of 1998)‚ to determine whether there was any breach of the executive code of ethics‚ which is applicable to ministers‚ and to deputy ministers‚ in SA.”

“The alleged breach of the executive code of ethics relates to allegations surrounding a Public Investment Corporation [PIC] investment in S&S Refinarias‚ which reportedly included a US$ 1.7m ‘referral fee’‚ which may have benefited the minister’s son‚ Siyabonga Nene.”

“These allegations are serious given the fact that‚ in terms of section 96(2)(b) of the constitution‚ ministers may not ‘expose themselves to any situation involving the risk of a conflict between their official responsibilities and private interests’.”

A report by Amabhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism on Friday had looked into Nene’s alleged involvement in a deal involving his son and an oil refinery in Mozambique, making Maynier request the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane to investigate.

Nene had said he did not even know that his son was involved in the deal until after the PIC had invested. He encouraged anyone with evidence against him to come forward with same.

“As I said on Wednesday, I stand ready to assist the Commission in its investigation.”

Nene is due to be in Indonesia for the International Monetary Fund meeting in Indonesia.