Publication: News24 Issued: Date: 2003-09-17 Reporter: Sapa

Reconsider Zuma Probe - DA




Date 2003-09-17



Web Link


Pretoria - Democratic Alliance chief whip Douglas Gibson said on Wednesday he had urged the public protector in a letter to reconsider his decision not to investigate Deputy President Jacob Zuma.

"I must respectfully disagree with his conclusion that there is not enough information to justify an investigation," Gibson said in a statement.

Earlier he requested the public protector, Lawrence Mushwana, to investigate whether Zuma had contravened the code of conduct in terms of the Executive Members' Ethics Act by failing to declare payments from people including his financial adviser, Durban businessman Schabir Shaik.

Mushwana said on Monday the complaint did not contain sufficient information to justify an investigation, as it appeared to be based only on "numerous allegations" that had mostly been made by the media, and the "contents of a draft charge sheet in a criminal matter".

Many of the allegations appeared not to have been substantiated and proven to date, while some were still being investigated by, among others, parliament's committee on ethics and members' interests, he said.

"As soon as tangible and reliable information becomes available from the investigations and litigation currently underway, or otherwise, I will be in a position to consider whether sufficient particulars are available to justify further investigation," Mushwana said.

Gibson said he believed it was both unnecessary and undesirable for the protector to wait for the ethics committee to conclude its investigation - which it had not yet started - before going ahead with his own.

The matter was not sub judice as far as Zuma was concerned, because he had not been charged criminally, Gibson said in the letter to Mushwana.

According to the draft charge sheet in the criminal case against Shaik and a number of his companies, Zuma received a series of payments totalling more than R1m over a period of about five years from Shaik and others, like Vathasallum Reddy.

"Both Mr Shaik and Mr Reddy have confirmed the existence of what they claimed were interest-based loans to Mr Zuma."

If the payments were benefits or sponsorships, Zuma should have declared them to parliament, which he did not do. If they were loans, they should have been declared in the confidential section of the Executive Members' Declaration, Gibson said.

"Parliament only considers alleged breaches of the parliamentary code of ethics. Alleged breaches of the code applicable to executive members are your field."

He said it was up to the court to decide whether Shaik's behaviour amounted to corruption.

"(But) it is the public protector's responsibility to determine whether Mr Zuma disclosed all loans and/or gifts in the Register of Executive Members' Interests, and regardless of whether he declared them or not, whether Mr Zuma's financial relationship with Mr Shaik amounted to a conflict of interest (between his official responsibilities and his private interests)."

With acknowledgements to Sapa and News24.