Publication: News24 Issued: Date: 2003-09-12 Reporter: Donwald Pressly

Time for Mbeki to Have a Say




Date 2003-09-12


Donwald Pressly

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Cape Town - The highlight of next week's South African parliamentary sittings will be question time in the National Assembly on Thursday - September 18 - during which President Thabo Mbeki will be asked about the "Zuma-gate" saga.

The question from the leader of the opposition, Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon, is: "Whether in light of the impact of corruption allegations against the deputy president (Jacob Zuma) on the reputation of the Presidency, the Government and the country as a whole, he has asked or intends asking the deputy president to step down until the allegations are refuted and the Deputy President is exonerated of any wrongdoing".

This week the deputy president said he would not step down either as deputy president or as head of the moral regeneration movement, because he had not done anything wrong and he had not been charged.

The saga arises out of allegations of corruption involving the arms deal but although the National Director of Public Prosecutions has declined to charge him, he noted there was prima facie evidence against the deputy president.

Another question - from Independent African Movement leader Theresa Millin - which the president will answer, is whether he discussed with President George Bush in July this year the possibility of elections being held in Zimbabwe in 2004.

A further question from African National Congress MP ND Ngcengwane is: "In what way are the resolutions that emanated from the Growth and Development Summit contributing towards the mobilisation of partnerships to address the high unemployment rate in South Africa."

Among the highlights at committee meetings of parliament next week are a briefing by the South African Diamond Board to the Minerals and Energy portfolio committee on Tuesday, a briefing on ports restructuring to the public enterprises committee on Wednesday and continuation of South African Broadcasting Corporation board interviews by the communications committee from Tuesday onwards.

The Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Bill is expected to be finalised by the National Council of Provinces select committee on economic and foreign affairs next Wednesday.

Among Bills being debated in the National Assembly next week are the National Port Authority Bill on Tuesday, the Unemployment Insurance Amendment Bill on Wednesday and the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill on Thursday.

With acknowledgements to Donwald Pressly and News24.