I didn't ask anyone to help my family with state capture, or whatever - Zuma
31 August 2017
Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma wishes to “make it categorically clear” that he never instructed any state institutions to give contracts to his family members.
But he will appoint an inquiry into “state capture, or whatever”.
The National Assembly had to wait for the answer to DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s question from Zuma for more than 30 minutes while the EFF raised points of order. The EFF is of the opinion Zuma shouldn’t be allowed to address the House, as the highest court in the country found that he violated the Constitution.
Their pleas made no impression on speaker Baleka Mbete. Zuma sat back comfortably in his bench while the red clad EFF MPs jumped up for their points of order, mostly expressionless, but he did smile the first time EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi referred to him as “uBaba ka Duduzane” (father of Duduzane).
When Zuma finally took to the podium, Makhosi Khoza was among the few ANC MPs who remained seated while the majority gave him a standing ovation.
Before asking his follow-up question, Maimane said Zuma says in the House that he will appoint an inquiry into state capture, yet he opposes it in court.
He then referred to an affidavit that Public Service and Administration chief director Brent Simmons submitted to Mbete earlier, in which it is alleged that Zuma lied to Parliament when he said he had never introduced members of his family to government officials and ministers for business purposes.
“Clarify for us: Who is lying?” Maimane said.
Zuma’s full, curt response was, “I have answered the question. I have never done such a thing. You have my answer, honourable member.”
DA chief-whip John Steenhuisen jumped up to complain to Mbete that Zuma didn’t answer the question.
“I answered the question,” said Zuma, while shifting his weight from one foot to the other.
Mbete said she can’t instruct the executive how to answer.
“This is a sham!” Steenhuisen erupted. “This is a sham! We might as well pack it up.”
“Go!” ANC backbenchers yelled while Maimane shook his head.
Several new points of order followed.
“We can’t allow the president to treat Parliament with disdain,” said Nqabayomzi Kwankwa, UDM chief whip.
After a few minutes, the IFP MP Nsikayezwe Cebekhulu could ask his follow-up question, which was whether Zuma had asked people to help his son Duduzane with business ventures.
“I’ve never sat in a meeting and asked anyone to help Duduzane. Never,” replied Zuma.
Amid kissing noises from the DA and EFF, NFP MP Munzoor Shaik-Emam, who was called a “useless ANC MP” by the EFF’s Hlengiwe Hlophe, asked if the inquiry will include state capture from before 1994 and “all state capture in the interest of radical economic transformation”.
Zuma said he is looking at the terms of reference of the inquiry and it will include how far “state capture, or whatever” goes.
EFF leader Julius Malema asked why he doesn’t take action against people who make allegations against him.
“Honourable speaker, I don’t know whether the honourable members want to play politics,” Zuma started his response. He said people say things about “President Zuma” every day and he doesn't take them to court.
“You can take action against me if you think I was lying,” an enraged Malema yelled.
“I don’t take action in court against people like yourself,” Zuma replied, with a laugh.