Maynier: Zwane’s reprimand a slap on the wrist
At last we now know what President Jacob Zuma told renegade Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane when he “reprimanded” him for issuing a press statement announcing a commission of inquiry into South Africa’s major banks last year.
Despite persistent questions from journalists at press conferences and from MPs during sittings of Parliament, it took a request regarding the Promotion of Access to Information Act for Zuma to reveal his reprimand.
Confirming that it was a slap on the wrist, Zuma doesn’t admonish Zwane in his letter, but merely informs him that the media statement issued was not authorised by Cabinet.
Zuma goes on to say: “The oath of office you have signed upon your appointment as a minister enjoined you not to divulge directly or indirectly any secret matter entrusted to you.
“The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, and the Executive Ethics Code requires you to always act in a manner that is consistent with the integrity of your office or government.”
The letter, dated September 23 2016, was released to DA MP David Maynier on Friday after he lodged an application through the Promotion of Access to Information Act in December.
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Zwane’s office refused to release the letter to Maynier, stating that the law made provision for an information officer of a public body to refuse a request for access to a record of the body if its disclosure would involve the unreasonable disclosure of personal information about a third party.
Maynier told City Press yesterday that the reprimand was a slap on the wrist and created the impression that Zwane’s proposal for a commission of inquiry into the banks, following the closure of the Guptas’ bank accounts, was still very much on the cards as far as Zuma was concerned.
“In the end, Mosebenzi Zwane is a hired gun for the Guptas and should have been fired by President Jacob Zuma,” said Maynier.
Zwane created a political storm in September when he said Cabinet had resolved to ask Zuma to establish a judicial inquiry into the banks that had broken ties with the Gupta family.
He also said there would be a review of the legislation that governs the banking system. Both Cabinet and Zuma distanced themselves from Zwane’s statement, saying it had been issued in his personal capacity, not on behalf of Cabinet or a task team.
Zuma later informed Parliament through a written reply that he had reprimanded Zwane for irregularly issuing a statement on behalf of Cabinet.