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Pule's troubles mount

The ex-Communications minister faces another probe after she wilfully misled Parliament’s ethics body.

President Jacob Zuma, Communications Minister Dina Pule and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe. Picture: Sapa.

CAPE TOWN - Former Communications Minister Dina Pule could face further investigation after it was revealed she wilfully misled Parliament's ethics body.

On Wednesday, the axed minister was found guilty of breaching the code of conduct for members of Parliament following a probe.

She has since been sanctioned, receiving a 15-day suspension. She has also been fined a full month's salary. She also faces a public reprimand by National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu. These are the maximum penalties allowed under Parliament's rules.

Pule failed to disclose her relationship with Phosane Mngqibisa, who was found to have substantially benefitted from his association with her. Mngqibisa was involved in organising the ICT Indaba which Pule's department hosted last year.

The investigating panel found he was indeed her partner.

The probe also found top officials at the Communication's Department may have committed perjury.

Employees who helped cover for Pule will face questions from the police.

The chairperson for the parliamentary panel, Ben Turok, said perjury was a criminal offence.

"The South African Police Service (SAPS) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) must investigate the breach of the Powers and Privileges of Parliament Act, which lays down very severe penalties for lying."

He said lying to Parliament was against the law.

"The perjury of some officials is, of course, criminal and it is up to the authorities in various areas to investigate."

The sanctions against Pule will only take effect once the ethics committee's report has been adopted by the National Assembly.

Pule attracted the attention of the ethics watchdog after the Sunday Times newspaper published reports about her romantic relationship with Mngqibisa and how he benefitted from the ICT Indaba.

The lengthy probe began in March this year and the panel reportedly had to process more than 2,000 pages of evidence.

Pule was fired by President Jacob Zuma last month during his fourth Cabinet reshuffle since 2009.

Zuma replaced her with former Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Yunis Carrim.

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