ANC, DA war of words over Pule
The ANC has called for DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard's removal from parliament's ethics committee. In turn, the DA has accused the ruling party of trying to draw attention away from its "failure" to act against former communications minister Dina Pule.
The ANC has called for DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard’s removal from parliament’s ethics committee.
She had “violated her oath to confidentiality” during a recent hearing by parliament’s ethics committee into former communications minister Dina Pule, the office of ANC chief whip Stone Sizani claimed in a statement on Thursday.
“It has come to our attention that Ms Kohler Barnard violated her oath to confidentiality and the ethical code of conduct by disclosing sensitive information to her friends on social media during the course of the hearing on the former minister of communications.”
According to the ANC statement, “an article published in the Post on 14 August [this year] by one of Ms Kohler Barnard’s Facebook followers” indicated she “regularly posted updates on the proceedings of the hearing”.
The parliamentary code of conduct enjoins all MPs and staff serving on the committee to take an oath of confidentiality.
“The code further states that members who are in breach of confidentiality are liable to a reduction of 30 days’ salary, and become ineligible to serve on the committee.”
The ANC said by “disclosing information pertaining to the proceedings of the confidential hearing on social media, Ms Kohler Barnard violated the ethics code, undermined the integrity of the process and brought the institution into disrepute”.
It had therefore asked the speaker’s office to “investigate the MP’s improper conduct, penalise her and remove her from the ethics committee”.
However, DA chief whip Watty Watson has hit back at Sizani saying his allegations against Kohler Barnard are “false” and “nothing more than an attempt to draw attention away from [the ANC's] failure to take decisive action against Dina Pule”.
“It is clear that they have no response for their behaviour in the national assembly on Tuesday, when they offered Ms Pule hugs and handshakes, instead of removing her from parliament,” Watson said. “The speaker must now investigate their false claims, which are based on no real evidence, and make a ruling on the matter. It will then be revealed for what it is: a petty move by a new chief whip, who clearly finds it easier to attack opposition MPs than take decisive actions against his own disgraced members.”
Pule was suspended by parliament on Tuesday this week for the scandal that saw her boyfriend benefit from state funding. Speaker Max Sisulu told Pule she betrayed her oath of office and brought parliament into disrepute.
Pule was sacked from her portfolio in a cabinet reshuffle in July. — Sapa, with staff reporter