ANC says Zuma assets row ‘a special case’

2010-03-09 11:44

THE ANC regretted that their presidential choice Jacob Zuma missed

the deadline to declare his assets to Parliament, but said the circumstances

needed to be understood.


“We have a special case, in that we are dealing with a president

who has a large family and therefore it is not easy,” spokesman Brian Sokutu

said today following the revelation that Zuma had missed the 60 day deadline to

declare his personal interests.


“We regret the fact that the deadline wasn’t met but as I said

before it has to be understood,” said Sokutu.


“What you have to understand is the fact that the president has

more than one wife and therefore it is a different set of circumstances and we

are asking people to really respect that. He hasn’t said that he is not going to

comply.”


Zuma, who has three wives and reportedly 20 children, is being

guided by lawyers on the matter, after it was initially reported that his office

felt there was ambiguity in the law on the declaration of his assets.

Political analysts have insisted that the law – the Executive

Members’ Ethics Act and the Executive Ethics Code – is clear on the matter, and

that he does have to declare.


The Democratic Alliance has asked the Public Protector to

investigate the matter.


The fact that Zuma put together a legal team on the matter proved

that he did not consider himself above the law, said Sokutu.


“We are as the ANC satisfied and confident that this process will

be put in place and sorted out. A team was announced by the presidential

spokesman. Therefore, as the ANC, we think that he has shown no disregard for

the law.”


The team includes attorney Michael Hulley who managed Zuma’s rape

and corruption defence.


“As the presidency has said, that one of the provisions of the law

deals with his family and he has a big family and this is something that has to

be taken into account.


“It’s not something that the opposition parties want – that you can

just push and get it over as an overnight thing.”


By attending court during his rape trial, where he was acquitted,

and the run up to his corruption trial, Zuma had shown he was “committed to

complying with the rule of law”.


“What we are saying with regards to disclosure – he doesn’t have

one spouse – he’s got many spouses – and therefore it’s a big family and he

wants to be thorough.”


Sokutu said the party would “certainly be worried if he was not

doing anything about it”.


An announcement on whether he will declare his assets is expected

tomorrow and the presidency referred queries on the matter to Hulley, who would

not say more.


On Monday, presidential spokesman Vincent Magwenya said a list of

Zuma’s assets would be compiled anyway, in case it was found that he must

declare them.


Sokutu said having a team in place on the matter indicated there

was a move towards declaration.


The African Christian Democratic Party said his failure to declare

his assets “sheds more light” on why he rejected the
Congress of SA Trade

Unions’ call for lifestyle audits for Cabinet members and politicians.


“The accountability measures that the president said are in place

are insufficient, as, they have failed to convince the president himself to

declare his assets,” said ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe in a statement.


“The ACDP is shocked that the president has failed once again to

set a good example for the people he is leading.


“Concerns about his moral failure have hardly subsided, and we now

hear that the president has failed to set a good example for public

representatives by failing to declare his financial interests,” said Meshoe.

 

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