The presidency on Wednesday released Zuma’s replies to a series of parliamentary questions.
James Lorimer from the Democratic Alliance asked Zuma whether he had visited the influential family’s compound in Saxonwold‚ Johannesburg‚ on Sunday‚ September 20‚ 2015.
He was also asked‚ if he did visit the compound‚ the reason why and what was discussed‚ and “did the discussion include the subsequent reshuffling that happened in the Ministry of Mineral Resources portfolio”. This would have been before Mosebenzi Zwane became the country’s Mineral Resources Minister.
He was quizzed on whether any member of his cabinet visited the compound on the same day.
President Zuma used Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s investigation into state capture as a reason not to answer the question.
“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.‚” was all answer Zuma would give.
Lorimer expressed frustration with Zuma’s answer on Wednesday‚ although he said the answer revealed even more than it concealed.
“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.
“This non-reply by the president shows that there is something untoward‚ and it will only add fuel to the fire that the president’s relationship with the Gupta family is right at the heart of state capture‚” said Lorimer.
Former DA leader in the National Council of Provinces Elza van Lingen asked President Zuma if he was informed of claims by former ANC parliamentary caucus chair Vytjie Mentor that the Gupta family had offered cabinet positions during his tenure as president.
Van Lingen wanted to know whether deputy minister of finance Mcebisi Jonas was speaking the truth about such a job offer having been made‚ and whether Zuma would therefore resign as president.
“The appointment of members of the cabinet both ministers and deputy ministers remains my sole prerogative as president‚ answered Zuma.
“I learnt about the statement attributed to the deputy finance Minister about the job offer in the media‚” he concluded‚ not letting on whether he had ever asked Jonas about the alleged meeting.
”All these concerns are being looked into‚” said Zuma.