South African President Jacob Zuma has handed in a declaration of his financial interests, after critics said his finances should be investigated. Mr Zuma, in power for nine months, was supposed to submit the declaration within 60 days of taking office.
In a statement, his lawyer Michael Hulley said speculation surrounding Mr Zuma’s finances was “unfair”. The president has three wives and 20 children and critics had questioned how he could support such a large family.
Opposition leader Helen Zille accused him of breaching the official code of ethics by failing to hand in the declaration. And left-wing allies of the ruling ANC had also urged Mr Zuma to comply with official rules.
But Mr Hulley said the disclosure was delayed while he ascertained “the nature of the disclosure to be made, as well as the extent to which declarations of family members were required”.
He added: “The attendant delay in completing this task responsibly has created an opportunity for some to unfairly speculate without substance.
“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.” Gifts received by Zuma and his family aren’t of “extraordinary monetary value” the statement said.
But, a search on the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro) database on Sunday had shown that Zuma was still linked to companies, two of which were in the process of de-registration and a Section 21 company from which he had resigned.
However, he was still listed as the sole member of Michigan Investments CC, according to the database. And, last week it emerged that President Zuma’s wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma, is living in a plush Durban house which is bankrolled by “friends”.