MPs face threats after Pule probe

Parliament has beefed up its security after threats to harm members of the panel investigating Dina Pule.

Former Minister of Communications Dina Pule accompanied addressing a press conference on the New Set top Boxes held in the margins of the ICT Indaba 2012 at the International Convention Centre in Cape Town. 6 June 2012. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Parliament has beefed up security after being told of a threat to harm the chairperson of the panel that investigated allegations against axed Communications Minister Dina Pule.

African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament (MP) Ben Turok headed the nine-member multi-panel that led the probe.

It has since emerged from Parliament's ethics committee's report that the registrar of its committee, Fazela Mahomed, has also been targeted.

Parliament spokesperson Luzuko Jacobs on Thursday would not say anything about the nature of the threat or what steps were taken to counter it.

"We as Parliament don't comment on security measures."

The committee's report says the panel was told parliament's head of security had received information of a threat to harm Turok and Mahomed and to disrupt proceedings.

The report says the threats were reported to the authorities and that appropriate measures were taken to safeguard the work of the panel and the staff assisting it.

Earlier this week the ex-Communications Minister was fined a full month's salary and suspended for 15 days after being found guilty of breaching the code of conduct for MPs.

Further, employees who helped cover for her will face questions from the police.

The allegations against Pule centred on her failure to disclose her relationship with Phosane Mngqibisa.

The investigating panel found he was indeed her partner and benefitted substantially through his association with her.

Parliament's Joint Committee on Ethics found that Pule wilfully misled the panel and that officials may have committed perjury in defending her.

Pule attracted the attention of the ethics watchdog after the Sunday Times newspaper published reports about her romantic partner allegedly benefiting from the ICT Indaba her department hosted last year.

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.