Pahad Says Zuma Corruption Slurs are 'Dangerous Rubbish'
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 yesterday 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 in parliament by DA MP Sheila Camerer that Zuma should have been charged along with his financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, whose sensational trial is under way in the Durban High Court.
It was inexplicable, Pahad said, that the DA was "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 under the protection of parliamentary privilege, without risk of being sued or charged, an irate Pahad said.
"It is quite surprising that my friend from the opposition once again exploits the sanctity of this house to carry out what has been going on for some time, trial by the media, which I think they perpetuated and initiated themselves," Pahad said in reference to a statement by DA MP Sheila Camerer.
"They talk about a fair trial, you have to be proven guilty before you are guilty. And here they come and use every opportunity to insinuate that the trial that's taking place on the very charges of corruption, has definitely got something to do with the deputy president.
"They don't purport to give us any facts, any information, and I think it's a dangerous lot of rubbish that they continue to carry out which we must stop," Pahad said to cheers from the ruling party and jeers from the opposition.
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."
Pahad told the Cape Times he was convinced that the DA was involved in "engineering this trial by media of the deputy president" despite their public support for a fair trial.
In a statement to the NA earlier, 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."
With acknowledgements to Jeremy Michaels and the Cape Times.