Zuma not ‘passing the buck’

2011-08-12 13:33

President Jacob Zuma has denied “passing the buck” and asking National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu to investigate Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on police lease deals.

Writing in his “Letter from the President” on the ANC website, Zuma also dismissed the idea he was not keen on certain departments being investigated.

The government was happy the chapter nine institutions were also contributing to the campaign against corruption – the Public Protector’s office being one example.

Zuma said last Friday he had submitted a “preliminary report” to Sisulu responding to Madonsela’s “most welcome reports”.

They relate to alleged procurement irregularities by the SAPS and public works department for police office accommodation.

“We sent our preliminary report to the Speaker Max Sisulu as we need to inform Parliament as to what we have done so far with a report that came from a Chapter nine institution which is accountable to Parliament.”

The president was also accountable to the National Assembly, he said.

“This action on our part appears to have caused confusion in some sections of the media and some of the opposition parties. Some opportunistically thought we were asking the Speaker to investigate and were ‘passing the buck’, which is false.”

The preliminary report did not ask anything of the Speaker or the National Assembly.

“We are duty bound to brief the Speaker and the National Assembly on such an important matter. We will present our final report to the Speaker as well once it has been concluded,” Zuma said.

Much work would take place to implement some of Madonsela’s recommendations, especially relating to the possible flouting of the Public Finance Management Act.

Action would be taken against officials found to have violated the prescripts of the law, after following due process.

People had a right to be heard and respond to allegations against them.

“Contrary to the views that we may not be keen to investigate alleged corruption in some departments such as public works and police, it is interesting to note that we signed a proclamation authorising the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe alleged irregularities in the building of 33 police stations, worth approximately R330 million, at the request of the SAPS itself,” he said.

“We are also probing procurement irregularities in the department of public works at the request of the department.”

The government intended rooting out corruption. Zuma was satisfied it was on the right track with this campaign.

One example of the seriousness with which the fight against corruption was viewed, was the fact that 18 proclamations had been signed in one financial year.

“We directed the SIU to probe alleged corruption, maladministration, and misappropriation of government funds in government departments and in municipalities such as Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, Midvaal, and others in the Western Cape, including at the SABC, to name a few.”

Most of the SIU investigations were initiated by the affected ministers in the interests of fighting corruption in their departments.

Other law enforcement agencies also had a number of corruption cases under investigation, Zuma said.

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