President suspends Deputy Minister Peters

President Cyril Ramaphosa has informed Deputy Minister of Small Business Development, Dipuo Peters, of his decision to suspend her.

In a statement on Friday, the Presidency said the Deputy Minister has been informed of her suspension in writing.

The decision follows a sanction adopted by Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members Interests against the Deputy Minister.

The Committee found that Peters had breached the Code of Ethical Conduct in her former portfolio as Minister of Transport.

Consequently, Peters was sanctioned and suspended for one term.

‘The suspension, which will be without pay, became effective on 28 February 2024 and will end on 28 March 2024,’ said the Presidency.

In a statement at the end of January 2024, Parliament noted the Western Cape High Court’s dismissal of Peters’s urgent application to stop Parliament from implementing her suspension from her seat in all parliamentary debates, sittings and committee meeting-related functions for one term of the parliamentary program

In October 2023, after considering a complaint lodged against her, Parliament’s Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests found that the Deputy Minister had breached the Code of Ethical Conduct in her former portfolio as Minister of Transport.

As a result, she was sanctioned and suspended for one term.

In its statement Parliament said #UniteBehind leader and activist, Zackie Achmat, lodged the complaint with several allegations, including that Peters ‘was neglectful in her previous portfolio as Minister of Transport by failing to appoint a Group CEO of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA)’.

It was also alleged that she used PRASA buses for ANC events during 2014 and 2015 without ensuring payment from the ANC, among others.

‘Following deliberations, the ethics committee found that the Member’s failure to appoint a Group CEO breached items 4.1.3 and 4.1.4 of the code, in that the Member failed to act on all occasions in accordance with the public trust placed in her; and discharge h
er obligations, in terms of the Constitution, to Parliament and the public at large, by placing the public interest above her own interests when she failed to appoint a Group CEO after the PRASA Board had commissioned a recruitment process, which resulted in a financial loss of R1 767 000,’ said Parliament in its statement in January.

The committee advised the National Assembly that for each of the three violations identified, Peters should be barred from participating in all parliamentary debates and sessions, as well as from committee meetings and their related activities and operations, for one session of the parliamentary programme.

Additionally, the committee suggested that the suspensions for all three violations occur simultaneously during a single session of the parliamentary programme, as decided by the National Assembly.

In the response to the court matter, Parliament said it appreciated the court’s sentiments regarding the importance of allowing Parliament, as an arm of State, to regulate its bu
siness without interference from other arms of the state.

‘Granting relief to delay the enforcement of this sanction would essentially invalidate a decision taken by a different arm of the State, exercising its constitutional oversight responsibilities, especially given its time-sensitive nature, where there is no legal foundation to do so.

‘Ms Peters will be placed on suspension commencing tomorrow, 30 January, with the suspension expected to last until 28 March,’ said Parliament at the time. –

Source: South African Government News Agency