Zuma 'not suitable' president

2012-12-07 16:28
Jacob Zuma (Picture: AFP)

Jacob Zuma (Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma must take a leave of absence until his name has been cleared, the DA said on Friday.

"The full story will come out eventually, but until then President Zuma must take a leave of absence from his office until these allegations have been proved or discounted," said Democratic Alliance MP James Selfe, who is also chairperson of the DA federal executive.

This followed a report in the Mail & Guardian on payments a KPMG draft report said were made on Zuma's behalf, and of various debts he owed banks.

Selfe said the report fully justified the need to review the decision to drop corruption charges against Zuma, which the party is attempting to do through a court.

"The DA calls on President Zuma to do the honourable thing and take a leave of absence from his office until all allegations against him have been dealt with."

The KPMG report was prepared ahead of Zuma’s high court appearance in 2006, when he was to appear on corruption charges, but it was not used once the charges were dropped.

Corruption charges

The DA had been trying to get the record of decision which led to the corruption charges being dropped, but Zuma's legal team and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) have used delaying tactics, Selfe said.

"The DA believes that we are quite possibly justified in going directly to court to review this decision without having to wait for the record," said Selfe.

Subject to legal advice, this is what they propose to do, he said.

According to the report, a 2006 forensic report on Zuma's finances revealed that former president Nelson Mandela gave him R1m to help settle his debts.

According to the 500-page KPMG report, Mandela came to Zuma's rescue in June 2005, a few days after he was fired as deputy president and after the NPA announced it would charge Zuma with corruption.

The report also says that a total of 783 payments were made to Zuma by his corruption-convicted, former financial adviser Schabir Shaik, amounting to more than R4m.


It says Zuma also benefited from several businessmen, including his nephew, Khulubuse Zuma, and Durban businessman Vivian Reddy.

The report says large commercial banks "bent over backwards" to accommodate Zuma because of his political position, writing off bad debt against his name.

Standard Bank reportedly wrote off a bond account as bad debt and Absa reportedly opened accounts in spite of his history, because of his "strategic positioning".

Asked for comment on the report, Standard Bank spokesperson Erik Larsen said: "Standard Bank is bound by law not to discuss clients' financial affairs. This applies to all the banks."

Absa spokesperson Patrick Wadula said it was attending to the request for comment.

A request for comment was also sent to FNB, where a senior official reportedly wrote that rules would be "bent a little" for Zuma's bond.

Fear of being stopped

Sello Hatang, spokesperson for the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, said he was not in a position to comment on Friday as he did not have the information contained in the KPMG report.

Comment from presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj could not be immediately obtained as he was out of the country with Zuma, who was on a working visit to Tanzania.

An official in the presidency said only Maharaj could comment.

Mail & Guardian editor Nic Dawes said the paper ran the story without seeking comment first from Zuma or others named in it, contrary to their right of reply practice.

This was because the risk of being prevented from publishing it "was real".

The publication invited comment, which it said it would publish immediately.

The Christian Democratic Party's Rev Theunis Botha said Zuma could now no longer be considered a suitable candidate for president, and called for him to step down, and for a caretaker president to be appointed until the controversy around the funding of his home at Nkandla was resolved.

Read more on:    da  |  mac maharaj  |  schabir shaik  |  nelson mandela  |  theunis botha  |  james selfe  |  jacob zuma  |  politics

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