Publication: National Assembly Issued: Date: 2003-03-12 Reporter:

Reply from Deputy President Zuma, to a Question for Written Reply from the Democratic Alliance 

Please find below a Reply from Deputy President Zuma, to a Question for Written Reply from the Democratic Alliance 

Lakela Kaunda
Spokesperson to the Deputy President


Private Bag X1000, Pretoria, 0001






Ms R Taljaard (DP) to ask the Deputy President

(1) Whether he had any meetings on 11 March 2000 and/or on any other specified dates with Mr Alain Thetard, former head of Thomson-CSF's (now Thales) Southern Africa division and/or Mr Shabir Shaik in Durban or elsewhere in South Africa and/or Mauritius and/or France; if so,

(2) Whether any agreements were reached during the course of the meetings for payments to be made and/or any undertakings given for protection for Thompson/Thales from the investigation by the Joint Investigation Team probing the Strategic Defence Procurement; if so, what are the relevant details; 

(3) Whether he or any member of his family has any business interests and/or shareholdings in either Thales and/or the Nkobi Group and/or African Defence Systems (ADS). If so,

(4) Whether he will make a statement on the matter? 

 Answers by the Deputy President

1. I did not meet Alain Thetard on 11 March 2000 in Durban or anywhere else in South Africa.

During my tenure as Member of the Executive Council for Economic Affairs and Tourism in KwaZulu Natal I have met with representatives of Thomson-CSF as well as with other companies from, amongst others, the United States, Germany, Britain, Malaysia and Russia, that were interested in investing in South Africa and in particular in kwaZulu-Natal. Some of these companies have requested to see me even after my tenure as MEC to brief me on the how the investments they had made were progressing. In this regard in my capacity as Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, and previously as the MEC for Economic Affairs and Tourism in kwaZulu-Natal, I have interacted with a large number of people but am unable to personally remember the names of all of them. Alain Thetard may have been part of one of the Thomson-CSF delegations.

As I have stated on numerous occasions, I have known Shabir Shaik for many years. He is a family friend and comrade. I have had numerous meetings with him over the years.

I have never discussed with Mr Shaik or anyone else for that matter, the issue of protecting Thales or any other company or individual from the Joint Investigating Team's investigation into the Strategic Defence Procurement.

2. No

3. I have no business interests and/or shareholdings in either Thales, the Nkobi Group or African Defence System. I have no knowledge of any member of my extended family having any such interests and or shareholdings either.

4. I have heard from media reports about the allegations that I requested money in return for support or protection to Thomson-CSF (now Thales). The media reports also state that the matter is being investigated by the Directorate of Special Operations (the Scorpions).

The Directorate of Special Operations has however never approached me for comment. At my request, my attorneys, approached the National Director of Public Prosecutions when the allegations first surfaced late last year, to enquire as to whether I was indeed being investigated. The National Director refused to confirm or deny that such an investigation was taking place. I am therefore gathering most of the information in this matter from the media.