President Jacob Zuma has used only four sentences to sidestep a torrent of composed inquiries in Parliament about the way of his association with the Gupta family.And he brushed aside any suggestion that he would be resigning.
On Monday, November 14, Zuma’s replies to a series of questions submitted in October by the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Congress of the People (Cope) were released by the Presidency.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane asked about his relationship with the Gupta family‚ whether he had ever received a gift from or visited them.
He was asked about an allegation by former African National Congress MP Vytjie Mentor that the Gupta family had offered her a cabinet post‚ “if she assisted with influencing the South African Airways cancellation of the India route”.
Zuma was also quizzed about whether he had telephoned Themba Maseko‚ former CEO of the Government Communications and Information System‚ to persuade him to met the Gupta brothers at their Saxonwold home in Johannesburg to help them secure government business for their publication‚ The New Age.
Ten questions related to his alleged relationship with the influential family were met by the same‚ standard response in writing by Zuma. Without answering directly‚ he made a reference to the former public protector’s state capture report.
“The questions asked form part of the subject matter of the report into allegations of improper and unethical conduct by the president and other state functionaries on matters relating to the removal and appointment of ministers and executives of state-owned enterprises. It is clear from the remedial action to be taken that the report is inconclusive. After the report was released‚ I have since indicated that I am giving consideration to the contents of the report in order to ascertain whether it should be a subject of a court challenge. I therefore cannot answer these questions as they form part of the said report‚” said Zuma.
Cope MP Deidre Carter asked whether‚ in view of the Constitutional Court’s finding that he failed to comply with remedial action sought by the public protector and a growing call by citizens of the country for him to resign‚ he could rationally justify the continuation of his presidency.
Zuma replied : “The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa‚ 1996‚ enjoins me to serve as the president of the Republic of South Africa until my five-year term expires in 2019.”