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Speaker rejects 'Zuma Inc' debate

2011-08-18 19:34

Cape Town - National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu has rejected the Democratic Alliance's request for a parliamentary debate on the "growing number of state deals that have reportedly benefited the friends and affiliates of President Jacob Zuma".

"The speaker rejected the DA's call for a debate on the grounds that it was 'not specific and definite' and did not deal with a 'matter for which the government can be held responsible'," DA parliamentary leader Athol Trollip said in a statement on Thursday.

"The speaker is just plain wrong," he said.

Firstly, the topic was perfectly defined. In its letter requesting the debate, the DA explicitly set out the specific allegations involving the president's friends and family.

Secondly, reported abuse of power by state officials awarding government deals to individuals connected to the president was a matter involving the government.

"If, as the reports suggest, the president's family and friends are being favoured in government tender processes, it is a matter of profound national importance.

"It is therefore appropriate for Parliament to interrogate the extent of the problem," Trollip said.

The government had continually avoided being held accountable for "chronic public sector corruption".

"We will not let the matter rest there. I will today be submitting a series of parliamentary questions to obtain details about the state deals in which the president's family and affiliates have reportedly been involved," he said.