President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday fended off Parliamentary questions on whether he truly visited South African business family- Guptas’ mansion in Saxonwold‚ Johannesburg; following state capture allegations.
Zuma refused to admit in his written parliamentary reply that he visited the family; as alleged by the Democratic Alliance in its state capture application.
His reply followed DA’s questions on whether he or any of his cabinet members pay an unofficial visit to the Gupta family on September 20, 2015; just before Guptas’ buddy Mosebenzi Zwane became mineral resources minister.
“Did the discussion include the subsequent reshuffling that happened in the Ministry of Mineral Resources portfolio?
If so, what was the nature of the discussions regarding the appointment of the new minister of mineral resources; if not, is he aware of any member of his Cabinet visiting the Gupta family compound on September 20, 2015; if so, who made the visit?,” DA MP James Lorimer asked Zuma.
Zuma Responds To State Capture Allegation
In response to Lorimer’s question, Zuma said he will not answer the questions because Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is already carrying out an investigation into the allegations. He urged them to be patient until Madonsela concludes her investigation.
“The Presidency was informed by the public protector that she has received complaints and requests; that she should investigate this matter or related allegations. The public protector’s investigation is still continuing‚” he insisted.
However, the opposition MP was quick to point out that Zuma’s no-reply is an indication that there is something untoward; and that it will end up stirring up thicker curiosity about his relationship with the Gupta family.
“The fact that the President waited for four months to reply to the question; and then hid behind the Madonsela investigation not to answer it‚ is very instructive‚ especially since the Madonsela investigation is a recent development,” Lorimer argued.
As pointed out by Mr. Zuma, an investigation into the alleged state capture is still ongoing. This is according to Madonsela’s response letter – dated 14 September 2016 – to DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s progress letter – dated 29 August 2016.
“I can confirm that the investigation is proceeding and that I am receiving full cooperation from most parties involved,” the outgoing Public Protector replied.
Meanwhile, the DA has expressed commitment towards ensuring that corruption in all its manifestations is investigated and that those found to be robbing the people of opportunities are held accountable.