Zuma is disconnected from reality, says DA

2012-02-17 18:00

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma's remarks about corruption show he is "completely disconnected from reality", the Democratic Alliance said on Friday.

In his reply on Thursday to debate on his State of the Nation address, Zuma said "most of the corruption you read about in the media is exposed as a result of the work of government and its agencies", DA spokesperson Dion George said.

"These are the words of a president who is completely disconnected from reality."

South Africa's major corruption scandals had not been broken by government, but by the media, and the opposition.

Scandals

These included the arms deal, to which former president Thabo Mbeki, Zuma, and then defence minister Joe Modise were all linked, he said.

Another was the so-called Travelgate scandal, involving a number of high-ranking ANC MPs misusing parliamentary travel vouchers.

George said others included the so-called Oilgate scandal, which traced the involvement of an ANC-linked company in diverting money from a state contract to the coffers of the ANC.

There was also the SA Police Service lease scandal, in which former public works minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde and suspended national police commissioner Bheki Cele were involved.

Another was the Chancellor House/Hitachi controversy, which saw the ANC's front company landing lucrative contracts with the state.

"Nowhere is the government's attitude towards exposing corruption more clear than in its determination to see the protection of state information bill pushed through Parliament in its current form," George said.

Should this law be passed, journalists and whistleblowers who reported on what government deemed secret would face up to 25 years in prison.

Last line of defence

It would be illegal to expose corruption and serious crime and the poorest of the poor would continue to lose out as government resources were redirected away from service delivery.

"Government is not the last line of defence against corruption. The media and the opposition are."

This was why the DA continued to fight against the bill as it currently stood, and would fight for a strengthened public interest override to ensure that ordinary citizens and the media retained the right to know, George said.

On Thursday, Zuma told the National Assembly South Africa was the only country with a "programme" to fight corruption.

Zuma said it was "important to emphasise that most of the corruption you read about in the media is exposed as a result of the work of government and its agencies".

Amid laughter from opposition benches, he continued: "What we should remember is that South Africa is the only country that has a programme to fight corruption. It's not being fought anywhere else."

- SAPA

Read more on:    da  |  jacob zuma  |  corruption  |  oilgate  |  info bill  |  travelgate
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