Publication: Mail and Guardian Issued: Date: 2003-09-02 Reporter: Sapa

Mbeki Must Speak on Zuma, says UDM



Mail and Guardian

Date 2003-09-02



Web Link


United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa urged President Thabo Mbeki on Tuesday to clarify the "confusion" surrounding Deputy President Jacob Zuma's alleged involvement in the arms deal.

In a member's statement in the National Assembly, he said the question had to be asked: "For how long can we have a person occupying the office of the deputy president when structures from the same government have publicly stated that they have evidence that he is corrupt?"

"Ironically, we hear ruling party spokespersons proclaiming that Mr Zuma has been 'exonerated': It is quite simply the confusion of the century," he said.

The UDM urged the president to clarify this confusion.

"The Ministry of Justice says they have evidence that Mr Zuma is corrupt, while the Minister in the Office of the President, Mr Essop Pahad, is continuously attacking the Head of Prosecution, the opposition parties and the media.

"Are we perhaps being blamed for observing that the emperor is naked, as has been published by the Ministry of Justice itself?"

Holomisa also called on government to immediately issue an ultimatum to the directors of French arms company Thales, who had been implicated in allegations of corruption involving Zuma, to immediately cooperate with the Scorpions or face the suspension of their company's participation in the arms deal.

In another member's statement, Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon lambasted Pahad for making "hysterical charges about media conspiracies and the opposition instead of dealing with the issues".

He again accused Pahad of undermining the investigation into the arms deal and strong-arming Parliament.

"South Africa is tired of these bully-boy tactics. Even Minister Pahad's own ANC colleagues cannot stand them anymore.

"It is time for Parliament to stand up to this blustering and bullying, and to open a non-partisan, comprehensive inquiry into the arms deal under Section 56 of the Constitution," Leon said.

With acknowledgements to Sapa and the Mail & Guardian.