Publication: Issued: Date: 2003-09-04 Reporter: Donwald Pressly

Maduna 'Not Part of' Zuma Decision



Date 2003-09-04


Donwald Pressly

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Justice Minister Penuell Maduna on Wednesday categorically denied that he had in any way influenced the decision not to prosecute Deputy-President Jacob Zuma, and cabinet spokesperson Joel Netshitenzhe reiterated that government would not interfere with the judicial process.

Replying to a question from Democratic Alliance justice spokesperson Sheila Camerer in the National Assembly, Maduna said he wished to give the assurance that he had not been involved with any decision taken by the National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka or any other prosecutor.

He said he was also not part of a "joint press conference" when he appeared with Ngcuka when the decision was announced that Zuma would not be prosecuted in connection with an allegation that he solicited a R500 000 bribe from a French company involved in the arms deal despite the existence of prima facie evidence.

Maduna said he had received the report on the matter and had read it. "I did not say look at it this way or look at it that way."

Addressing media after Wednesday's cabinet meeting, Netshitenzhe said the allegations against Zuma were "a private matter. Government will not interfere with the judicial process."

Zuma, he said, had the same right as anyone else to the presumption of innocence until proved guilty.

Netshitenzhe said this was government's position, adding that cabinet had not discussed the matter. Zuma was not present at yesterday's meeting as he is in Cuba. The cabinet meeting was chaired by acting President Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

With acknowledgements to Donwald Pressly and