I requested the Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, to investigate the Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, on 05 October 2018, 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 South Africa.
The alleged breach of the executive code of ethics relates to allegations surrounding a Public Investment Corporation investment in S&S Refinarias, which reportedly included a US$ 1.7 million “referral fee”, which may have benefited the minister’s son, Siyabonga Nene.
I received a reply from Oupa Segalwe, Acting Executive Manager: Communications & Stakeholder Management, dated 08 October 2018, confirming that the matter will be investigated by the Good Governance and Integrity Branch within the Office of the Public Protector.
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”.