R2K wants answers on Cwele
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma needs to say whether he knew that the wife of State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele was implicated in drug trafficking when he appointed him to the post in 2009, the Right2Know campaign said on Tuesday.
And if so, they want to know why Zuma did not refuse to reappoint him, or remove him from the post in the interests of national security.
The minister's wife Sheryl was sentenced to 12 years in prison for drug dealing on Friday, when the KwaZulu-Natal High Court found her and Nigerian national Frank Nabolisa guilty.
The Independent on Sunday reported that Zuma and his predecessor Kgalema Motlanthe were aware of the investigation against Sheryl Cwele at the time of her husband's reappointment.
Interests of national security
"The Right2Know campaign calls on President Zuma to answer these questions publicly in the interests of national security and accountability in government," the statement said.
"If the president was not aware of these allegations, as leader of the majority party he should urgently reconsider the passage of the [secrecy bill] through Parliament which has been spearheaded by Siyabonga Cwele and the ministry of state security."
The controversial protection of information bill seeks to classify information relating to organs of state and makes it a crime punishable with 25 years in prison to communicate top secret information.
Right2Know is one of the organisations opposed to it.
Members of Parliament are still working on finalising the bill.
Comment was not immediately available from the presidency or the state security minister's spokesperson.
Out on bail
Cwele is appealing the conviction, and is out on R100 000 bail, while Nabolisa is appealing both sentence and conviction, and remains in custody.
Meanwhile, The Star reported that Sheryl Cwele was back at her office at the Hibiscus Coast Municipality on Monday to attend a municipal meeting. She is director of health services at the municipality.
The Hibiscus Coast Municipality placed Sheryl Cwele on special leave, a mayoral spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Cwele himself has not wanted to say anything about his wife's conviction. Some opposition parties have called for his removal.
During the trial they had pleaded not guilty to dealing or conspiring to deal in drugs, procuring a woman, Charmaine Moss, to collect drugs in Turkey, and procuring another woman, Tessa Beetge, to smuggle cocaine from South America.