14 January 2013

South Africa: President Zuma Must Clarify and Retract Comments That Businesses Which Back ANC Will Prosper

Photo: SA Presidency
(file photo):President Jacob Zuma

press release

I will be submitting parliamentary questions to President Jacob Zuma to seek clarification as to whether his remarks that businesses which support the ANC will see their fortunes "multiply" is in fact government policy; and if not, whether he will issue a formal retraction.

These remarks, made during the ANC's birthday gala dinner, have the potential to severely compromise the principle of good governance, which our constitutional democracy fundamentally depends on.

They imply that by backing the ANC, businesses will be provided with financial reward, which can only be leveraged through state resources. With high levels of corruption already costing the economy billions of rands, hurting the poor and vulnerable the hardest, such a comment is deeply irresponsible.

However, it comes as little surprise. This is further evidence of how President Zuma fundamentally confuses the role of the state and party, and how the government continues to misuse public money, which should be spent on the poor. The R250 million being spent on the upgrade of President Zuma's Nkandla residence is the most glaring example to date.

This follows President Zuma's remarks on 22 May 2012, when he stated in Parliament that he saw nothing wrong with politicians doing business with the state.

Furthermore, the ANC's decision to block two key private members' bills proposed by the DA in Parliament demonstrates their lack of commitment to the fight against corruption. These include:

A Bill to regulate the business interests of state employees, prohibiting them from doing business with the state.

A Bill which sought to regulate tenders to ensure that no business entity in which a political party has an interest, can do business with government.

With corruption continuing to eat away at South Africans confidence in the ability of government to deliver, President Zuma should spend more time implementing measures to fight corruption, instead of making dangerous and irresponsible comments that have the potential to undermine our constitutional democracy.

Lindiwe Mazibuko, Parliamentary Leader of the Democratic Alliance

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