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SA Minister responds to ICT Indaba investigation

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The office of the South African Minister of Communications, Ms Dina Pule, has issued a statement regarding the Public Protector’s decision to investigate the potential conflict of interest regarding the hosting of the ICT Indaba 2012.

Leader of the DA, Helen Zille. (Image: DA online)

The statement reads: “The Minister of Communications Ms Dina Pule has not yet received notification from the Public Protector that her office is investigating a potential conflict of interest involving the Minister in relation to the hosting of the successful hosting of the ICT Indaba in Cape Town in June.

The Minister welcomes the Public Protector’s decision.

The Minister has instructed her staff to cooperate fully with the Public Protector, as they have done when they were dealing with the Office of the Auditor General.

The Minister is committed to clean governance. She requested the Office of the Auditor General to help the Department and its companies improve their adherence to corporate governance. On 07 September 2012, the Auditor General held a clean audit workshop with the staff of the Department and State-Owned Companies that report to the Department.

The Minister is convinced that there is no wrongdoing on her part as the report of the Auditor General has found.”

Media spokesperson for the office of the Minister of Communications, Siya Qoza, said he could not speak on behalf of the Public Protector, but confirmed that the DA has contacted the office of the Public Protector.

A press release posted on the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) website, issued by Marian Shinn, Shadow Minister of Communications, confirms the political party had received confirmation of the decision by the Public Protector to investigate, under the Public Protector Act, the possible conflict of interest of Communications Minister in the ICT Indaba.

According to Shadow Minister Shinn this will supplement the query the party instigated via Parliament’s Ethics and Members’ Interest Committee for a “the ethical issues of Ms Pule’s conduct in the  outsourcing of the organisation of the event held in Cape Town in June to a company through which her romantic partner Phosane Mngqibisa has a financial interest.”

“The fallout of how R25,7 million was raised from sponsors for the event and was seemingly withdrawn from the event’s project manager Carol Bouwer’s business bank account by Mr Mngqibisa has been the focus of media attention since mid-June. There are almost weekly revelations of how money has been spent lavishly on items and trips that have tenuous links to ICT Indaba and more to do with a jet-setting lifestyle.

The Public Protector’s investigation will hopefully lift the lid on the extent of Ms Pule’s knowledge and influence over the organisation of the ICT Indaba, the appointment of Mr Mngqibisa as an associate to Carol Bouwer for the event, and any financial gain he may have made from event sponsors,” she writes.

The DA could not be reached for further comment.

Chris Tredger, Online Editor

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