Zuma on the Nkandla bond, the judiciary and the Guptas - then and now

2016-05-18 17:21
President Jacob Zuma. (Sumaya Hisham, AP)

President Jacob Zuma. (Sumaya Hisham, AP)

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Cape Town - On Tuesday President Jacob Zuma answered questions in Parliament on a range of issues, including the bond for his Nkandla homestead, the judiciary and his relationship with the controversial Gupta family. 

Here is a look at Zuma's comments over the years on those three subjects: 

The Nkandla Bond 

While answering questions in Parliament on November 15, 2012 President Jacob Zuma said:  "I took the decision to expand my home and I built my home with more rondavels, more than once. And I fenced my home. And I engaged the bank and I'm still paying a bond on my first phase of my home."

However, two days later City Press reported that there was no bond for the homestead, and that the land is owned by the Ingonyama Trust, headed by King Goodwill Zwelithini, which manages about 32% of all land in KwaZulu-Natal on behalf of the state for the benefit of its occupants. 

City Press traced deeds records for Zuma's property that show there is no bond registered against it, and the deed document reportedly showed the Ingonyama Trust as the owner of Zuma's property.

His spokesperson Mac Maharaj said at the time: "We reaffirm that President Zuma does indeed have a bond on the residence with one of the national banks, and he is still paying it off monthly."

The Mail&Guardian reported on November 20 that year that Zuma first applied for the home loan on the residence in 2001, when it was worth between R650 000 and R750 000, according to a bank valuation and insurance assessments.

By December 2002, he had reportedly been granted the home loan by First National Bank (FNB), despite being in dire financial straits, not having a formal lease on the land, and a bank policy not to bond property owned by tribal trusts, according to the report.

Zuma was asked about the bond in Parliament on Tuesday, and was also asked how he raised the bond without owning the land, since he lives on tribal land.

"The first phase of it [Nkandla], I have a bond that I am paying. The second one, the family paid. [These are] not the five issues that were built by government. That must be very clear," Zuma said, while referring to the piece of tribal land:  "It's called in our area: PTO. Permission to Occupy."

The Judiciary 

In 2011 Zuma told an Access to Justice conference in Sandton: "The powers conferred on the courts cannot be superior to the powers resulting from the political and consequently administrative mandate resulting from popular democratic elections."

Following a meeting with Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng in August last year, President Jacob Zuma said that the judiciary and executive must "exercise care and caution with regards to public statements and pronouncements criticising one another. Failure to do so will undermine the global status of the Republic as a bastion of democracy, tolerance, human rights and the rule of law."

This meeting followed previous comments by Mogoeng aimed at members of Cabinet and the ruling party who had criticised the judiciary. 

Mogoeng said at time: "There have been suggestions that in certain cases... judges have been prompted to arrive at a predetermined result. This is a notion that we reject". 

In June last year government acted against an order granted by the High Court in Pretoria that Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir should be prevented from leaving the country.

Officials allegedly allowed Al-Bashir to slip out of the country following an African Union summit despite the ruling. 

Al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court to stand trial on charges, including genocide. As South Africa is a signatory to the court's Rome Statute it is obliged to arrest and hand him over to the court.

In March 31 this year the Constitutional Court ruled that Zuma failed to uphold the Constitution when he did not comply with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's remedial action regarding payments for the non-security upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.

Zuma told the National House of Traditional Leaders in April: "I'll be very happy that we solve the African problems in the African way because if we solve them only legally they become too complicated. Law looks at one side only, they don't look at any other thing." 

In reference to those comments, Zuma assured MPs on Tuesday that he and his party respected the judiciary.

"I trust the judiciary, and the ANC trusts the judiciary," he said.

The Guptas

During a question and answer session in Parliament in 2013, Zuma defended his relationship with the Guptas. Then DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko reportedly asked Zuma why the Gupta family had direct contact with members of his Cabinet.

Zuma responded by saying any member of the public was free to contact any member of his Cabinet or the public service.

"It is because any member of the public within South Africa and beyond our borders is free to contact any members of my Cabinet, the executive, or the public service directly."

He was then asked if he was willing to cut his ties with the Gupta family, and Zuma responded that everyone had the right to make friends, but that however did not mean endorsing wrongdoing.

"We are not in the state that burns people because they are friends with others."

In April 2013, a plane carrying about 200 guests who were travelling to the wedding of a Gupta family member at Sun City landed at Waterkloof Air Force Base, a national key point, causing controversy.

The family again made it into the spotlight in March this year after Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas and former MP Vytjie Mentor both claimed that the Gupta's offered them top Cabinet positions.

When asked about this in Parliament on March, he said he hired ministers, not the Guptas. 

"Go ask the Guptas, and Jonas, it has nothing to do with me. Where do I come in? Ask the people he said offered him the job," he said.

The topic arose in Parliament again on Tuesday, with Zuma saying: "I know nothing about the business dealings of the Guptas and whoever. Why should I have a view? Why should I have a view about if it must be investigated or not?... It's not my business," he said.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  cape town  |  judiciary  |  gupta family  |  nkandla upgrade  |  parliament 2016

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