Publication: Beeld Issued: Date: 2003-09-09 Reporter: JanJan Joubert

Charge Zuma, says Pahad




Date 2003-09-09


Jan-Jan Joubert

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Cape Town - The minister in the presidency, Dr Essop Pahad, says deputy president Jacob Zuma should be charged in a court of law.

Pahad said in an interview with Tim Modise on Radio 702: "It would be better for the deputy President to be charged. He can then state his case in court. It's unfair that he is found guilty through his associations."

Pahad continued: "The deputy president should be charged so that he can clear his name. The national director of prosecution, Bulelani Ngucka, has indicated that he didn't think he could win a court case, but that's his opinion only."

Pahad is the first cabinet member asking for Zuma to be charged. Zuma has never asked directly that he should be charged.

When asked about this when he was addressing a community meeting in Ingwavuma last month, Zuma insisted that he wanted an opportunity to present his side of the case, but he didn't ask that he be charged.

At the same time, Pahad, who has been President Thabo Mbeki's political right-hand man for years and still moves in circles close to the president, emphasised that the independence of the judiciary should be respected.

He's of the opinion that the ANC, through the party's national communication chief, Smuts Ngonyama, should give clarity about the ANC's position regarding the controversy surrounding Zuma, because many ANC members are unclear about recent happenings.

Pahad warned against a trial in the media. He denied reports that a call from him to the SABC led to rumours that no discussions about Zuma would be allowed.

He said he didn't understand the selection of news at times. He said the government had hoped that the controversy surrounding the weapons' purchases would "disappear" when explanations were given, but that didn't occur.

In his opinion there wasn't a lot of information in stories about the weapons' purchases.

Pahad also launched an attack on Patricia de Lille, the leader of the Independent Democrats, who contacted the radio phone-in programme. Pahad said he didn't think that De Lille's facts were always correct.

With acknowledgements to Jan-Jan Joubert and the Beeld.