Presidency declines comment on Tutu criticism

2011-03-10 08:36

The Presidency today declined to comment on Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s criticism of President Jacob Zuma and his administration.

“You see, he is commenting on issues about court and allegations and those sort of things,” said presidential spokesperson Zizi Kodwa.

“We prefer the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) respond to that. We will not be drawn on those statements.”

Yesterday, Tutu passed wide-ranging criticisms of Zuma and his administration while delivering the yearly Desmond Tutu Ecumenical Lecture at the University of the Western Cape.

“I am very fond of President Zuma. He is affable and warm, but I do believe it would have been better for him to have been pronounced innocent by a court of law weighing the evidence, rather than through a dubious administrative act.”

He was referring to Zuma’s corruption trial in 2009 when 16 charges against him were dropped by the NPA due to the alleged abuse of process by the former head of the Directorate of Special Operations (DSO) Leonard McCarthy.

At the time, Zuma was a presidential front-runner.

KwaZulu-Natal Judge President Vuka Tshabalala endorsed the NPA’s decision and acquitted him in the Durban High Court in April that year.

The charges related to allegations of bribery between arms company Thint and Zuma.

On the multibillion-rand arms deal, Tutu said that if there was nothing to hide, government would not fear a judicial commission of inquiry.

He also criticised Zuma’s relationship with convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik and the Gupta family, describing it as worrisome.

“It may be that there is nothing to worry about with the parole of Shaik, but it must raise eyebrows when someone who was said to be at death’s door is shown playing golf. It is worrying when his close relationship to the president is put in juxtaposition.

“Perhaps the Gupta family would make all those lucrative deals and it is merely coincidental that the president’s son is a beneficiary.”

Tutu also used the opportunity to take a swipe at last December’s National Youth Development Agency-organised international youth festival, which came with a R100 million price tag.

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