Publication: The Star Issued: Date: 2004-10-20 Reporter: Jeremy Michaels

Pahad Slams 'Dangerous Insinuations' by DA



The Star

Date 2004-10-20


Jeremy Michaels

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Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad has dismissed as "a dangerous lot of rubbish" allegations that Deputy President Jacob Zuma is corrupt.

Pahad also charged in the National Assembly on Tuesday that the Democratic Alliance was being irresponsible by exploiting its privileges in the parliamentary chambers to continue a "trial by media" of Zuma.

He was responding to a statement by DA MP Sheila Camerer that Zuma should have been charged along with his financial adviser, Schabir Shaik.

It was inexplicable, Pahad said, that the DA were "at such a low, weak level that they are reduced to exploiting personal things that are not proven" in a court of law.

The official opposition paid only lip service to democratic notions of a fair trial and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, while they exploited the privilege of being able to make statements in parliament without the risk of being sued or charged under the protection of parliamentary privilege, an irate Pahad said.

Asked later to clarify whether his remarks about "a dangerous lot of rubbish" was a reference to allegations that Zuma was corrupt, Pahad said: "Yes, and I'm also talking about them using parliament for a pure propaganda exercise."

In an earlier statement, Camerer said: "The cabinet has been critical of media sensationalism around the Schabir Shaik court case, alleging it is impugning Deputy President Zuma's integrity on the basis of allegations not yet proven in a court of law.

"While the DA agrees with Judge Hilary Squires that the media should respect the sub judice rule, nevertheless it would be almost impossible for the media not to report and comment on allegations about Deputy President Zuma as they emerge during evidence in the Shaik case."

Camerer added: "To quote Hamlet, the deputy president is clearly the ghost at this particular media feast. His name appears all over the charge sheet, and not an hour of court proceedings goes by without his name being mentioned in evidence about Mr Shaik's dealings, either in allegations that he was bribed or that he peddled influence.

"The deputy president, who is represented in the Durban court by a battery of lawyers, claims he has never been given a chance to clear his name. This is disingenuous, for he must be aware that had he been charged with fraud, corruption or bribery, he would have had to resign his position.

"The DA believes that he should have been charged."

With acknowledgements to Jeremy Michaels and The Star.