‘Zuma must act on Nyanda’

2010-07-18 15:54

President Jacob Zuma is under pressure to break his silence on

Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda, who was

this week accused of interfering in the awarding of tenders in his

department.

This comes after fresh allegations against Nyanda emerged this week after director-general Mamodupi

Mohlala wrote a letter to the minister last Monday effectively accusing him of

meddling in the awarding of tenders.

In her letter, which Nyanda said had

taken him “by surprise”, Mohlala reportedly said it would be inappropriate for

the minister to take over the administration of tenders.

Cosatu and other critics have also stepped up their calls for Zuma

to investigate Nyanda and other ministers accused

of corruption.

Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said: “We are repeating our call

that all allegations should be investigated to establish whether there is

substance to the media reports.”

Political commentators called on Zuma to investigate Nyanda, as his inaction created the impression that

Nyanda was one of his “untouchable allies”.

Mcebisi Ndletyana, senior political researcher at the Human

Sciences Research Council, said: “It is puzzling that allegations of corruption

against the minister are not probed by the president. It is not far-fetched that

the president does not want to alienate him because he is a critical ally.”

Susan Booysen, a political analyst from Wits University, said ­Zuma

had to break his silence on Nyanda before the

public put him under pressure.

“Zuma has to make a statement on Nyanda so people don’t begin to think that there is a

group of untouchables around him,” she said.

“We know that the president does not like to take a stand on any

issue. As things stand, the government’s credibility is suffering.”

Speaking to City Press in an ­interview on Friday, Nyanda said this week’s “unfortunate events” were “a

great pity” because Mohlala had never discussed the matter with him before

writing the letter.

The minister said there was ­“absolutely no truth” in the

allegations against him.

“I have never been involved in issuing or participated in any

tender process. I stay clear of those things because they are not in my realm,”

he said, adding that he would respond to what was happening between him and

Mohlala at an appropriate time.

“I therefore cannot comment on the merits and demerits of the

letter,” he said.

This is not the first time such ­allegations have been brought

against the minister.

He recently threatened to take Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima

Vavi to court after Vavi had earlier expressed concern that Zuma was not probing

ministers who were accused of corruption. The matter was later withdrawn.

Zuma’s office would not comment on the matter.
 

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