Publication: News24 Issued: Date: 2003-09-05 Reporter: Donwald Pressly

Zuma 'Declared Assets'




Date 2003-09-05


Donwald Pressly

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Cape Town - Embattled deputy president Jacob Zuma updated the parliamentary register of members' interest in March this year - giving some detail of his interests in a family property at Nkandla, northern KwaZulu Natal.

The house has been the subject in the last 10 days of much media attention following details of the deputy president's financial status flowing out of court papers relating to a case against his financial adviser Shabir Shaik.

The assertion is that the Deputy President received benefits - through repayments on loans on his house - associated with the arms deal.

Construction on Zuma's home started in July 2000 and it was completed in April 2001 at a cost of over R1m. Zuma did not meet construction payments. An unidentified third party paid off R130 000 in August and October 2000.

Durban businessman and casino boss Vivian Reddy stepped in and paid R100 000 in November 2000. Reddy then signed suretyship (of R400 000) to help Zuma get a 900,000 rand bond from First National Bank. Reddy has been paying the monthly bond instalment of 12,000 rand since January 2003, according to the charge sheet.

Zuma told parliament on March 13 this year that he had the property.

In a letter to the Registrar of Members' Interests Fazela Mohamed he noted his "immediate and extended family have for generations been the holders of rights to occupy certain tribal land in the Nhlola Area, Nxamalalaa Tribal Authority, Nkandla District, Kwazulu Natal."

He reported in a letter signed by himself and under the letterhead of the deputy president, that: "Until recently we had not been issued with any formal legal title to occupy such land .. all families in this area occupy land within this system.

"However, I recently required a bank loan to fund certain improvements to the land and the property thereon. It was a requirement of the bank which assisted me that some formal title is issued to me, which I could in turn cede to the bank as security for the loan.

"For this reason, I was granted a Permission to Occupy in terms of the KwaZulu Land Affairs Regulations 1994 the said piece of land measuring 2 500 square metres in extent."

"I am unsure whether such information needs to be entered in the Register of Members' Interests as I was led to believe that PTOs were not required to be disclosed.

"I have, however, no objection to such information being entered in the public section of the register, I however, require clarity from you in this regard."

Earlier on Friday National Assembly Speaker Frene Ginwala confirmed that he had referred information about Zuma from the national prosecuting authority to Parliament's ethics committee.

She referred the information received from the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions to the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members' Interests after asking Parliament's law advisors to identify information that may be sub judice.

Although her statement on the matter did not spell it out the Scorpions investigation unit opted not to prosecute Zuma for alleged corruption involving South Africa's multi-billion rand arms deal.

With acknowledgements to Donwald Pressly and News24.