Zuma to speak on interests

2010-03-09 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — President Jacob Zuma is expected to issue a statement tomorrow about the controversy over the declaration of his interests, one of his legal advisors said yesterday.

“By Wednesday morning, a statement will be issued on behalf of the president in relation to exactly what the position would be,” said Michael Hulley, one of the lawyers working “generally” on the matter.

This follows a report, and confirmation by Zuma’s office, that he did not declare his interests after taking office last year.

The opposition Democratic Alliance, which believes this violates Section 5 of the Executive Ethics Code, said it will ask the public protector to investigate.

Meanwhile, Zuma’s spokesman, Vincent Magwenya, said Zuma has been waiting for clarification from his legal team, as there has been a difference of opinion in his office about whether he has to declare his interests.

“People should also appreciate that while the president has been waiting for clarification from the legal team, he has also instructed that a submission be prepared for purposes of declaration in the event that it was found that he has to declare,” Magwenya told Sapa.

A preamble signed by Zuma when he was he was acting president in 2000 includes a list of which interests must be declared and whether members have to excuse themselves from committees if there may be a conflict of interest.

Section 91 of the Constitution states: “The cabinet consists of the president, as head of the cabinet, a deputy president and ministers”.

Magwenya said the president, through his office, had told the Sunday Independent that he had not declared his interests, in response to questions put to them.

“It is not as if the president was hiding anything,” he said. If the president was hiding something, he would not have given such an open and forthright response, continued Magwenya.

He said the declaration of interests currently being worked on, in case Zuma is required to submit one, will include verifying the interests of his large family and dependent children, which is expected to take some time.

Zuma has three wives and 20 children. — Sapa.

THE national youth spokesman of the Democratic Alliance, Khume Ramulifho, has called for ANC Youth League president Julius Malema to be criminally charged and forced to pay back every cent he received from his company, SGL Engineering Projects.

This call follows new reports that Malema failed to pay his personal tax and that his companies received multi-million rand contractswithout having tax clearance certificates (TCCs).

TCCs are a pre-requisite before any company receives a government tender.

“Malema must be charged if he has indeed not paid his income taxes … He cannot be allowed to get away with it.

“Our service delivery crisis is a direct consequence of people like Malema, who only think about themselves, and not the good of the people,” Ramulifho said.

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