Zuma under fire after late declaration

By Time of article published Mar 10, 2010

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President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday submitted a list showing he has no business interests, following widespread criticism that he had failed to declare assets for nearly a year after taking office.

Opposition parties want Zuma investigated, saying he has breached ethics laws that require senior government officials to disclose assets within 60 days of assuming office.

In a statement, Zuma's lawyer Michael Hulley said the president "does not hold any directorship, membership or shareholding in any company, either public or private, nor is he associated in any way therewith".

"The suggestions to the contrary are devoid of any truth and are regrettable," Hulley added.

A list of gifts, benefits and financial interests held or received by Zuma or his family had now been submitted to the secretary of cabinet. Hulley said Zuma had not received any gifts of "extraordinary monetary value".

The country's main opposition, the Democratic Alliance, said the disclosure was "too little, too late".

The party said that in making the submission, Hulley failed to explain why it was 245 days late, or why after claiming there was legal ambiguity, he has now "changed his mind".

"Apart from breaking the law ... his conduct raises serious questions about his ability to lead the South African people," the DA said in a statement.

Hulley said Zuma had delayed the submission because he was seeking advice on what should be declared and the extent of the disclosures required from his family members.

In 2005, Zuma was fired as deputy president by former South African leader Thabo Mbeki after the courts found his financial adviser guilty of making payments to Zuma in exchange for political favours.

Graft charges against Zuma was dropped in April 2009, ending a long legal battle that had raised doubts over his ability to govern the country. - Reuters

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