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Deepening Democracy through Access to Information
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DA notes discrepancies in Zuma’s declaration records

13th November 2017 BY: Sane Dhlamini
Creamer Media Researcher and Writer
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Official opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane will be laying a complaint with Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane after noting “serious discrepancies” in President Jacob Zuma’s declaration records on Monday at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Maimane was welcomed by Cabinet secretary and director-general in the Presidency Dr Cassius Lubisi and upon viewing the documents, he declared they were lacking in details.

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His visit to the Union Buildings follows a series of allegations of maladministration in journalist Jacques Pauw’s book The President’s Keepers, which revealed that Zuma received a monthly salary of R1-million for four months after he was inaugurated as President from Royal Securities, a company owned by his friend Roy Moodley.

Maimane said he was going to submit an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, No 2 of 2000 to gain access to Royal Security's employment records for the 2009 year.

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While Royal Security is a private entity, Section 70 of the PAIA Act allows such access to information if it is in the public interest, said Maimane.

“Failure to comply with the law refers to sections of the Executive Ethics Act and Code, and the public interest in knowing whether the President was in violation of the law certainly outweighs any possible harm. We will argue that the information ought to be made public so that we can corroborative the allegations already put,” he added.

The DA leader mentioned that the declaration book only revealed a beachfront property owned by Moodley which was used by the president in 2016.
Maimane emphasized that the President is required by the Executive Ethics Code to disclose the particulars of all his financial interests to the Secretary of Cabinet once a year, and this must include all shares and interests in corporate companies, sponsorships, gifts and donations, hospitality, pension, and foreign travel.

Among the items recorded in the declaration book was a hibiscus tea set from Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir given to Zuma in 2014, a year before the South African government allowed al-Bashir to flee South Africa, despite the fact that he was wanted for crimes against humanity and despite a High Court order.

Zuma also received four bottles of Merlot wine from Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2016, a gold watch from the United Arab Emirates government in 2011, for which no value was disclosed; and two Parker pens from suspended Crime Intelligence Head Richard Mdluli.

Maimane revealed that the register of the President's interests did not contain any disclosures of alleged funding of the President’s birthday parties in 2015 and 2016, by the Bosasa group, to the estimated value of R3.5-million.

The declaration also did not mention any income or benefits received in relation to the non-security upgrades at Nkandla, including the loan extended by VBS Mutual Bank, despite the President telling Parliament that he did take out a loan for upgrades to Nkandla.

When probed about whether there were any records of gifts from the controversial Gupta family, Maimane said he found nothing on the family but added that there were a few gifts from Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe which included Nguni cattle and a silver watch from the Black Management Forum.

“What I have seen today cements what I, like most South Africans already know - that President Jacob Zuma shows utter disregard for the law, and has at every turn sought to undermine the people of South Africa for his own personal gain,” stated Maimane.

He stated that the African National Congress had lost touch with South Africans and that it could not self-correct, no matter who was elected as its President.

“The once respected liberation organisation of Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu is dead, and is now nothing more than an organised criminal syndicate, with Jacob Zuma leading the way. Our nation and its people need a new beginning, and that new beginning lies in a post-ANC South Africa,” Maimane ended.
  

EDITED BY: Sashnee Moodley Deputy Editor Polity and Multimedia
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