Zuma 'avoiding' pardon question

2010-01-12 22:26

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma is "desperate" to avoid answering the question of pardons for Schabir Shaik and Eugene de Kock, the Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday.

This comes after Zuma's spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said the president will make a decision regarding pardons for Shaik and De Kock.

"The president will apply his mind on the applications once he receives them… currently he has not seen any of the applications," Vincent Magwenya said.

He was responding to the DA's insistence on Monday that Zuma must clear up conflicting reports about the pardons.

Earlier, Magwenya told Sapa that Zuma did not deny that Shaik applied for a pardon, whilst being interviewed on etv. He said the president did not have the details of the over 300 pardon applications waiting for his consideration.

Simple answer

According to the DA's James Selfe however: "Yet the president has been recorded on national television stating of Shaik's pardon application: 'Why should I pardon him when he has not applied?' "

The party said a statement issued last October by the presidency "spelt out in black and white" that Shaik had applied for a pardon.

"Twice in two days we have seen irreconcilable statements from the presidency - first from the president himself, and now from his spokesperson.

"And all of this serves to illustrate just how desperate the president is to avoid answering the straightforward question: is he considering pardoning Schabir Shaik and Eugene de Kock?

"What we need is a proper answer to a very simple question."

Shaik was convicted of corruption in a trial that dealt partially with whether he facilitated a bribe for Zuma from a French arms company. De Kock was jailed for apartheid-era murders.

Shaik is out on medical parole and De Kock remains in prison.

De Kock and Zuma met last April, but the content of the discussion was not revealed.

Restart TRC process - UDM

The United Democratic Movement suggested recalling the amnesty process of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which tackled cases that overlapped between political and criminal motives.

"It could easily divide the country if it appeared that some will be given preference by way of pardons and without being submitted to the same level of scrutiny as those who participated in the amnesty process.

"It is our view that it would be best to complete the current amnesty process and then appoint a special committee of parties represented in Parliament, in order to carefully consider any additional cases."