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ANC: Media 'deliberately misleading' on Nkandla reports

Staff Reporter

The ANC has called on the media to desist from "peddling malicious statements" on whether Jacob Zuma has a bond on his Nkandla home without proof.

Jacob Zuma's Nkandla residence. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

In a statement issued by ANC national spokesperson Jackson Mthembu on Wednesday, the party said the question of whether Zuma has a bond on his home, as well as the call for a vote of no confidence in the president brought by opposition parties earlier this month, was being used to influence decisions at the ANC's national conference.

Suggestions that there was no bond or that Zuma lied in Parliament on the matter were made with bad intentions to undermine the president and unduly influence ANC processes in the run-up to its elective conference in Mangaung, Mthembu said.

"We hope that those, including some newspapers, who were peddling malicious statements on the 'non-existence' of the bond without any proof will desist from casting aspersions and misleading the public," he said, adding that members would "never be dictated to by any outside sources including the media, when it comes to ANC internal democracy".

Bond or no bond
The Zuma residence has come under increasing scrutiny after it was revealed that the department of public works had earmarked over R240-million for "security" upgrades to the complex.

Last week Zuma launched an emotional defense of renovations made to his home in Parliament, after DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko asked whether construction at the compound would be halted while the public protector investigates the spending.

Zuma told Parliament that "all the buildings, every room we use in that residence" had been built by the Zuma family, not government and that he was still paying off the bond for the five family buildings in the compound.

On Sunday the City Press reported that there was no bond registered on the complex but the Mail & Guardian later established that there was in fact a bond of R900 000 on the home.

Mthembu also said that in terms of the law parties involved in a financial transaction are obliged to protect private and confidential information Trying to access confidential information from banks was "premised on strange and unprocedural process", he said.

Mthembu also said that the "false accusations" leveled against Zuma "do not augur well for public confidence in our media".

"The continued in-factual reporting does not only prejudice the investigation on the matter of Nkandla, it also smacks of an undue attempt to influence the ANC conference next month," he said.

The party called for "prudence, respect for the person of President Zuma and truthful reporting by our media lest they be used in partisan politics championed and engineered by the opposition".

Opposition 'politically pathetic'
Mthembu also accused opposition parties in Parliament of running out of "genuine issues" and "clutching at straws".

On Tuesday Mazibuko wrote to the speaker of Parliament, Max Sisulu, asking him to "procure the relevant facts and clarity" on Zuma's statements in light of the conflicting reports from the media.

Sisulu told Mazibuko that parliamentary practice prevents him from entering into disputes of fact and advised her to request the information directly from the presidency and other sources.

Mthembu rubbished the request, saying that asking Sisulu to investigate "purely based on deliberately misleading reporting by our media" was outside of the established norms and practices.

"In relation to the investigation on the security features added to his residence by virtue of being the president of the Republic of South Africa, we reiterate our stance of welcoming the investigation," he said.

"We also want to reiterate that the person of President Jacob Zuma is neither the political nor accounting officer of any of the agencies or government departments involved in the decision making with regards to the installation of necessary security features."

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