Publication: Business Day Issued: Date: 2003-09-11 Reporter: Wyndham Hartley

Zuma Hints on Next Year's Election Date



Business Day

Date 2003-09-11


Wyndham Hartley

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Cape Town - Deputy President Jacob Zuma yesterday gave the clearest indication yet that next year's national elections could possibly take place around April, when SA celebrates its first decade of democracy.

Zuma skilfully defeated opposition parties' attempts to pin him down to an exact date while answering questions in the National Assembly.

Opposition parties are concerned that the African National Congress (ANC) could use the celebration of 10 years of democracy to remind voters of the party's achievements and attempt to win their votes.

The opposition is also concerned that the ANC would use state funding for the celebrations, which could be poorly disguised ANC election rallies.

Constitutionally, the third democratic election has to happen three months on either side of June 2, the date of the 1999 election. So it could be held early in April or in August. Until now there has been no indication when government was planning to hold the poll.

Meanwhile, Zuma again said he had done nothing that warranted his standing down either as deputy president or as the head of the Moral Regeneration Movement.

In another development, Minerals and Energy Minister Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka last night rallied to the defence of her husband and Scorpion s boss Bulelani Ngcuka, who has been labelled an apartheid spy.

"Allegations made against Bulelani Ngcuka in the last few weeks have ranged from a pending appointment to De Beers ; that he has a child with a teenager; that his car was impounded and the latest is that he was a spy, according to Mac Maharaj."

She said "the file with the details of my husband's spying career is supposed to be in safekeeping. We hope it will be made public so that it can provide some light to all of us".

She said the couple were not planning to make "clearing Bulelani's name" a crusade and sustaining the drama.

"We have much more important work to do, providing services to the people of SA and advancing the critical work of the government and the ANC rather than wasting time on mudslinging with comrades.

"The process of appointing a national director of public prosecution is not exclusively dependent on the president.

"During the nomination process there was a window of opportunity to bring this information to light. We find it very strange that a concerned, vigilant cadre of the organisation would have held back and not even tipped off the then president, minister of justice and the ANC,' the minister said.

With acknowledgements to Wyndham Hartley and the Business Day.