Publication: Business Day Issued: Date: 2003-09-22 Reporter: Linda Ensor

I Did Not Interfere With Probe Zuma



Business Day

Date 2003-09-22


Linda Ensor

Web Link


Cape Town - Deputy President Jacob Zuma insisted last week that he had not interfered with the investigation by the Scorpions into his alleged involvement in corruption surrounding the arms deal.

In his annual address to the National Council of Provinces, Zuma said he had taken appropriate steps within the law and his rights "to seek redress regarding the outcome of the investigation".

National director of public prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka said he would not charge Zuma, even though there was prima facie evidence that he had been involved in a corrupt relationship with his financial advisor Schabir Shaik, who is facing criminal charges.

Zuma said the investigation represented a test for SA's democracy, which had remained unshaken by it.

"It is only in a mature democracy where a deputy president of a country would be investigated without any interference or attempt to stop the investigation by government or the deputy president himself.

"In some established democracies, high office is protected and incumbents are granted immunity. In our country, all are equal before the law. We have never questioned these principles; we respect them and abide by them.

"The investigation has been a test for other institutions as well. It has tested the maturity of state organs responsible for investigations and the potential and capacity for the abuse of power by individuals in these institutions."

Zuma said the investigation tested the media and raised questions about whether it had remained true to its principles of objectivity, fairness and impartiality and "whether the media remained true to these noble ethics, or whether it took a firm position to vigorously support one party to the full, to further mutual agendas".

"The investigation has also been a test for political parties, the extent to which they are prepared to assist the democratic process or whether they choose to become sound-bite' specialists, swallowing any lead that they are given to get media mileage," Zuma said. "Government should also be congratulated for adhering to democratic principles, and not being tempted to abuse power."

With acknowledgements to Linda Ensor and the Business Day.