Zuma evades Shaik pardon question

2010-03-24 12:37

President Jacob Zuma today refused to give an assurance to the

National Assembly that he will not grant a pardon to his former financial

advisor and convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik.

“I don’t know why we should deal with it before it comes to the

president,” Zuma said in reply to a question on whether he could assure the

House he would not grant a pardon to Shaik.

“Why should we? If the information before me of any prisoner, says

that this person has supporting information, that this person must be released,

why if the person qualifies in terms of the information must he not be released

because he is so and so...”

Zuma warned against “prejudging issues”.

“I think it is unfair, even to the individuals, because you begin

to influence anyone who is going to be looking at these issues by debating the

issue of a person before it is even discussed.

“I think let the matter come before the president and the president

will exercise his powers according to the Constitution.”

Zuma told the Assembly he had concluded that 230 of 384

applications for pardons – many of whom were represented by Inkatha Freedom

Party chief whip Koos van der Merwe’s law firm – should not be granted and “at

this stage” he did not intend to supply reasons for his decisions.

“I shall do so, at a later stage, should it become necessary,” he


He would consider the remaining 154 pardon applications at the same

time that he worked on the applications considered by the multi-party reference

group set up by former president Thabo Mbeki.

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