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Zuma stands by youth league boss

By Anna Majavu | Feb 24, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma says ANCYL leader Julius Malema is not a government official, so there is no need to ban him from getting government tenders.

Speaking to Parliament's Press Gallery Association in Cape Town yesterday, Zuma said he would not debate whether it was correct for Malema to get multi-million rand tenders from the government.

"Malema is not a government employee. I don't know his businesses. There has been an allegation, I am not sure that Malema has no right to have businesses. I don't want to debate that," Zuma said.

He said he did not "have information" about the R140million in government tenders allegedly dished out to a company co-owned by Malema.

He added that "there are no rules to people who are not in government that they should declare. He is Malema, he is a politician, he is not an official of government".

When pressed if he thought it was acceptable for the ANC government to dish out tenders to ANC leaders, he said: "I am not saying that people should just get tenders willy nilly.

"We are working towards streamlining the manner in which tenders are given. I have said it many times that we need to change (this) and we are working on that."

Zuma implied that "tenderpreneurship" was a problem.

"I have been saying that very few people were getting every opportunity - known people in a sense. There is a lot of corruption in that area of tenders," he said.

But he rejected suggestions that politicians should declare their financial interests, as government officials have to do.

"The rule is to deal with public representatives. I am not certain we should stretch it to every citizen."

He also played down Sowetan reports that his bodyguards had manhandled Cape Town jogger Chumani Maxwele. Maxwele was detained for almost 24 hours, during which his home was raided by intelligence agents, and he was made to write a letter of apology to Zuma. This sparked a public outcry.

"It is not my duty to deal with such issues. The Minister of Police will deal with that," he said.

Zuma said "the fact that he apologised, he must know that there is something untoward that he did".

He denied that recent disclosures about his love life had spurred him to start talking about developing a "moral code" for South Africa.

He criticised his ally, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, for saying that the budget announced last week was anti-poor.

"This budget is unapologetically, highly pro-poor. I am not certain that people had listened properly to the budget when they made criticisms."


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