Zuma’s spin-doctor tells why we should continue to wait while ‘protocols’ are being observed on Public Protector report

The not-so-long-ago appointed spin-doctor (or special envoy and Spokesperson) for President Jacob Zuma, Mac Maharaj, has lambasted those who have been critical of the president. That’s a sign that he’s doing his job right: responding to commentators, newspapers and allegations against the president whenever they arise or there is a need. Right?

In a statement released on Tuesday this week Maharaj termed those critical of Zuma’s failure to respond to the Public Protector report as “urban legends”. He said the so-called “urban legends” were going around and claiming that Zuma had “relieved Mr Geoff Doidge of his duties as Public Works Minister in October last year and appointed Ms Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde in his place for the sole purpose of getting her to approve the leases, which Mr Doidge had apparently dodged to do”. This is all bull and nonsense, said Maharaj, saying “this is all based on a rumour”.

He also denied claims that businessman Roux Shabangu was “supposedly a friend of the President”. This is of course true because Shabangu has himself since denied the claims (see “Roux Shabangu just doing business the 21st century-way”).

Maharaj says the “rumours are without foundation” and it is actually “disappointing that some newsrooms have published or broadcast the rumours as fact, without even checking with the Presidency”. He said Zuma “barely know” Roux, that “any statement to the contrary is false”. That’s true. But I guess this is the tendency many of journos – including desktop writers like ourselves self acclaimed bloggers – have developed. So could the tendency I am referring to be as a result of “brown envelopes” or a matter of delegating reporting that required unique talent and skills to junior journos in the newsrooms? You be the judge…

The special envoy went on to deny any link between the releasing of Doidge from his appointment with Mahlangu-Nkabinde as his replacement. “There is also no link between the release of Mr Doidge and the appointment of Ms Mahlangu-Nkabinde to the public works portfolio”.

Maharaj said many self-appointed commentators have lamented Zuma for not responding to the Public Reported according to their set timeframe (my emphasis), saying things are done procedurally in government and decisions that are taken must be informed by facts, after following due process”. He said we should know better by now that government “does not act without interrogating information placed before it”, before adding that Zuma is still awaiting a response of some “information” from Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa and Mahlangu-Nkabinde before making any “informed” response. Yeah, right.

So since there’s no mention of any “information” whatsoever awaited from Police Commission Bheki Cele – who Public Protector recommended his boss, Mthethwa, to take action against – does this mean nothing will happen to him?

The answer? No comment.

I say this because we will not know a thing until such time that all processes have been “concluded” and submitted to Speaker of the National Assembly, Max Sisulu – for observing “protocol in terms of government relations with Chapter 9 Institutions” purpose – who will then tell us what is what.

And so the wait continues…

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