Publication: Sapa Issued: Durban Date: 2005-03-09 Reporter: Wendy Jasson da Costa

Zuma Informed Parliament of Liabilities: Document






Date 2005-03-09


Wendy Jasson da Costa


Schabir Shaik's advocate Francois van Zyl produced a new document in the Durban High Court on Wednesday which indicates that Deputy President Jacob Zuma had indeed informed parliament about his liabilities to Shaik.

"I confirm that we received a declaration from yourself for the 2001 period", read Van Zyl from a letter by secretary of cabinet Frank Chikane to Zuma.

Shaik has maintained that he and Zuma had a loan agreement in place for the money paid to and on behalf of Zuma and that the document came into effect in May 1999.

The state said it had not seen a copy of this agreement until it was produced in court. The defence has argued that the agreement was lodged in the confidential register of members' interests in parliament.

On Wednesday the court heard that Zuma had disclosed liabilities to Shaik in declarations made from 2001 till 2004. However, Chikane said the contents of the liabilities had not been lodged. He does say the total liabilities for the 2001 period stood at R1,5 million rand.

Shaik said he always assisted John Jeffreys in compiling the report and Jeffreys would then pass it on to Zuma to verify.

While cross-examining Shaik on the letter Van Zyl put it to him that Zuma had asked Chikane for the document because only the "member himself" could get information from parliament and that Shaik would not have been able to do so.

Downer questioned Shaik about the figure saying that at the end of 2001 the amount owing by Zuma was in the region of R600 000 excluding payments to the African National Congress which Shaik has always said he regarded as contributions.

Shaik said he had no idea how the R1,5 million had been reached. Downer told the court that "the letter itself does not present a problem" but that the state had asked to see the actual register.

The state completed its tough and lengthy cross-examination on Wednesday, but Judge Hillary Squires said he still wanted to clarify some issues with Shaik on Thursday morning.

Speaking to the media on the steps of the high court, Shaik said: "I've tried to indicate that this case has largely been about the deputy president. This was one of the wishes of [former Scorpions boss] Bulelani Ngcuka... trial by media. Long live the deputy president!"

Throughout his testimony Shaik has emphasised the problems experienced by Black Economic Empowerment Companies like his Nkobi holdings.

During cross-examination on Wednesday Downer referred to Scottish professor John Lennon, who wanted to open a tourism school in Durban and who the state said was forced by Zuma to include Shaik as his BEE partner.

Shaik told the court that he was angry that foreign white companies used black companies to get contracts in South Africa. He said he needed to put it on record "and if I need to go to jail for that, I will."

He said Lennon had repeatedly referred to his white partner in South Africa. Squires told him to just answer the question and Shaik replied that was just what he was doing.

He said what Lennon was doing was disempowerment and "I don't mind going back to the struggle to fight it".

The state alleges that Shaik used his ties with Zuma to become the black economic empowerment partner in the tourism school project.

In the past few weeks in the witness box, Shaik admitted he was still bankrolling Zuma. On Wednesday it also emerged that apart from paying the rent of an apartment for Zuma which was deemed more secure during political upheaval in the KwaZulu-Natal, Shaik had also footed the bill for a safehouse for politician Walter Felgate when he defected from the IFP to the ANC.

The defence is expected to call its next witness on Thursday.

Earlier in the week Shaik said a French witness would take the stand. However, on Wednesday Van Zyl said that the two bosses of French arms company Thomson CSF, JP Perrier and De Jomarron (sic - de Jomaron), had both been approached and had refused to testify in South Africa, France or anywhere else *1.

In count 3 of corruption against Shaik the state alleges that he attempted to solicit a bribe of half a million rand per year for Zuma from Thomson CSF in exchange for protection from investigations into arms deal irregularities.

The other charge of "general corruption" relates to money the state said Shaik paid to and on behalf of Zuma for use of his political influence.

The charge of fraud relates to the irregular write-off of money, the reversal thereof and the creation of a non-distributable reserve in the books of his Nkobi Holdings.

With acknowledgements to Wendy Jasson da Costa and Sapa.

*1   Of course - because either they will get personally implicated for bribing either Zuma or others, and/or their company will get indicted for doing the same on a corporate basis. That's why Thomson-CSF was on and should have remain on the Accused List in this case.

But Schabir's orge, the man from the hole in the Transkei, let Thomson-CSF off. Some people should be greatful.