21 November 2012

South Africa: Statement on the President's Bond

press release

The African National Congress has always believed in the statement of President Zuma that he has a bond with one of the commercial banks that financed his eNkandla home.

The statement by the Office of the President that he is willing and ready to disclose the details of the bond to any authorized agency or individual confirms that the argument suggesting that there was no bond or alternatively that President Zuma lied in Parliament on this matter, was made with bad intentions to undermine the person of Jacob Zuma as the President of the country.

It also sought to unduly influence ANC processes and outcomes going to Mangaung. We hope that those including some newspapers who were peddling malicious statements on the 'non-existence' of the bond without any poof will desist from casting aspersions and misleading the public. The false accusations leveled against the President do not augur well for public confidence in our media.

The insistence of those who claimed that there was no proof of any bond is premised on strange and unprocedural process of hoping to access confidential information from the banks and those authorized by our laws. In terms of the law that governs commercial transactions there is an obligation on the part of transacting parties to protect private and confidential information.

It is ethical practice that a holder of public office, in terms of South African legislation, has to make declarations in Parliament. These can be made in two categories one of which is confidential declarations. That some journalist do not have this understanding begs the question of their understanding of the operations of public entities and those who serve in them.

We also find it disingenuous and politically pathetic that our opposition in Parliament could even ask the Speaker of Parliament to investigate the matter outside the established norms and practices of parliament, purely based on deliberately misleading reporting by our media.

The continued in-factual reporting does not only prejudice the investigation on the matter of eNkandla, it also smacks of an undue attempt to influence the ANC conference due next month. The ANC calls for prudence, respect for the person of President Zuma and truthful reporting by our media lest they be used in partisan politics championed and engineered by the opposition.

The opposition in Parliament are themselves subjected to rules that govern members' declarations. For them to ask the Speaker to investigate the matter he has no jurisdiction over is abuse of the Office of the Speaker and Parliament.

It is evident that the opposition has run out of genuine issues and resort to clutching at straws. In relation to the investigation on the security features added to his residence by virtue of being the President of the Republic of South Africa, we reiterate our stance of welcoming the investigation.

We also want to reiterate that the person of President Jacob Zuma is neither the political nor Accounting Officer of any of the agencies or government departments involved in the decision making with regards to the installation of necessary security features. It is against this backdrop that we find it debilitating and disgusting that the opposition in Parliament and a number of publications and commentators seem to finger the President to be in the wrong on this matter without any factual basis.

We can only conclude that the noises on this issue are also meant to influence decisions at the ANC's National Conference just as the "vote of no confidence" in Parliament sought to achieve the same. We want to state categorically and caution the media in general and opposition parties that ANC members, particularly delegates to the conference can never be dictated to by any outside sources including the media when it comes to ANC internal democracy.

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