Presidency rejects call on 'Zuma Inc' deals
Cape Town - The presidency has "rejected" a Democratic Alliance call for a parliamentary debate on the "growing list of state deals that have benefited President Jacob Zuma's family and friends".
"The President does not hold any personal or financial interest in any business or corporate entity," Zuma's spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement.
"He makes his annual declaration of interests to the secretary of cabinet. The declaration is designed to ensure that a conflict of interest does not arise in the performance of his executive office."
The financial interest that the President had to disclose related directly to the president as well as to spouses and dependants.
He did not declare assets or interests that belonged to persons other than spouses and dependants.
"The properties and assets of adult children are likewise not declared and are not the President's responsibility or liability.
"The presidency has previously rejected the baseless rumours of a relationship or friendship with Mr Roux Shabangu from whom the SAPS sought to lease accommodation for offices," Maharaj said.
Earlier, DA parliamentary leader Athol Trollip said he was asking National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu for a special debate on the matter.
"The National Assembly rules make provision for matters of public importance, which the DA believes this to be, to be placed on the order paper for discussion," he said in a statement.
The most recent "Zuma Inc" deal had seen the President's son-in-law Lonwabo Sambudla linked to a controversial R1 billion state tender, he said.
"It is quite clear that, given the involvement of his affiliates in controversial state deals, the President's ability to speak out against corruption is fundamentally compromised.
"This state of affairs has rendered him seemingly emasculated and unable to take action against high-ranking government officials found guilty of corruption, most recently the National Police Commissioner and minister of public works."
Zuma should come before Parliament as a matter of urgency to account for the numerous reports concerning "Zuma Inc", and to explain how so many of his affiliates had been on the receiving end of lucrative government contracts, Trollip said.
In addition to the most recent scandal involving Sambudla, Zuma's affiliates had been linked to controversial deals since he took office.
These included the SA Police Service (SAPS) lease saga, in which "Zuma affiliate" Roux Shabangu was the owner of the buildings involved in the Durban and Pretoria lease scandals.
Cause for concern
It was interesting to note that since receiving the Public Protector's most recent report into these deals, the president had broken his silence only once - to distance himself from Shabangu.
In the Aurora Empowerment Systems-Pamodzi deal, the inexperienced Aurora, of which Zuma's nephew Khulubuse Zuma was a director, was controversially named the preferred party to take over the Pamodzi mines ahead of a number of established bidders, Trollip said.
Regarding the Imperial Crown Trading 289-Sishen deal, Zuma's Duduzane Zuma was linked through his business partner Jagdish Parekh to the inexperienced Imperial Crown Trading, which was awarded prospecting rights to a residual share of the Sishen iron ore mine.
"The expansion of the Zuma family's business interests, particularly in sectors with prominent state involvement, is a cause for deep concern."
Despite Zuma's protestations about his administration's commitment to tackling corruption, his compromised position would continue to undermine any attempt to address the abuse of state power for personal gain.
"This is an attitude that appears to have permeated the national government at large.
"Subversive attempts to impede the work of corruption-busting institutions such as the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and public protector have exposed this administration's intolerance of any investigations that may hit too close to home," Trollip said.