“A President with nothing to hide would make his financial interests publicly available”

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A President with nothing to hide would make his financial interests publicly available. This is the sentiment of Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, John Steenhuisen.

He said he visited the Union Buildings on Thursday, 04 August 2022  accompanied by the DA’s Deputy Chief Whip, Siviwe Gwarube, to view President Cyril Ramaphosa’s declaration of interests as head of the executive.

Steenhuisen said this access was granted to them following a request made to the Secretary of Parliament in the wake of the Phala Phala revelations. “But despite allowing two of us to view the president’s declaration, it remains shrouded in secrecy with no media permitted. And therein lies the problem”.

“It is inexplicable and unacceptable, in a modern, open democracy, that the president’s financial affairs and business interests remain a secret, unavailable to the public and the media”.

He added that the latest scandal surrounding the theft and cover-up of a large sum of seemingly undeclared foreign currency from the President’s farm has shone a new spotlight on this issue, but it is by no means the first or only such incident. “If the media, opposition parties and the public had unfettered access to this information, much of former President Zuma’s murky dealings with the Gupta family as well as the infamous security upgrades at his Nkandla homestead would likely never have taken place”.

Steenhuisen further said President Ramaphosa should also make himself available far more regularly to answer questions in the National Assembly. “In the UK, the Prime Minister appears in the House weekly to answer questions. Here in SA, the president is only scheduled to appear four times in a year.”

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