Zuma 'not lying' over pardons
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma never denied that Schabir Shaik had applied for a presidential pardon, but said he had not seen the application yet, his spokesperson said on Tuesday.
"The president has over 300 applications before him and the president has not seen any of those," said Vincent Magwenya in response to a Citizen headline "Pardon me? Who's lying about Shaik request".
This was after Zuma said in an e.tv interview that Shaik had not applied for a pardon, but the Democratic Alliance found an old statement quoting the presidency as saying Shaik had applied for a pardon.
"People should stop stressing themselves about a matter that is clearly the president's prerogative as empowered by the Constitution," said Magwenya.
He said the debate around pardons did not serve any particular purpose adding that the Constitution empowers only Zuma to grant or refuse a pardon.
"The president is not obligated by any timelines nor by any process. He will apply his mind over the applications at a time of his choosing and he will make his decision based on the facts and the information.
"No one can dictate to him how and when to go about exercising his constitutional prerogative.
"The whole assertion that the president was lying is completely untrue."
Opposition parties had expressed concern about a potential pardon for Shaik, convicted of fraud and corruption in a trial that focused on whether he had facilitated a bribe for Zuma from an arms company.