Reply from Deputy President Zuma, to a Question tor Written
South African Government Online
DATE PUBLISHED: 14 FEBRUARY 2003
DATE REPLIED: 12 MARCH 2003
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 Thompson SCF'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, (a) where did the meeting or meetings take place, (b) what was discussed at these meetings and (c) what was the outcome of such meetings;
(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, (a) what is the nature of the interests and (b)(i) how and (ii) when were they acquired;
(4) Whether he will make a statement on the matter?
1. I did not meet Alain Thetard on 11 March 2000 in Durban or anywhere else in South Africa.
[This answer avoids the question of whether Zuma met Thetard on any date other than 11 March 2000, or in any place other than 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 Thompsons SCF 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 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 Thompsons SCF 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.
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 Thompson SCF (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.
Issued by The Presidency
12 March 2003
With ackowledgements to South African Government Online and The Presidency.