President Jacob Zuma has declared receiving gifts from numerous individuals and heads of state, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

This was revealed by the leader of South Africa’s official opposition Mmusi Maimane on Monday. “It is of great interest that President Putin is mentioned only in 2016 when he sent him, I think, a few books. I was deeply dissatisfied with what was presented to us. It’s clear that any functions that the president has had, which were sponsored even by Bosasa were not declared on a public record. It’s clear a lot of issues are hiding,” Maimane told journalists at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

The Democratic Alliance leader visited the Union Buildings on Monday morning to view and analyse Zuma’s declaration of interests since he took office in 2009.

“That public record doesn’t give amounts for why something is given to the president. The Black Management Forum by Jimmy Manyi gave the president a watch. It’s simply said he got a silver watch. Was it a silver Breitling, or was it a silver Casio? Nobody knows because none are out with value as to how much it is. It is material to a declaration – if you get given an R100,000 watch … it’s different from saying just a silver watch,” said Maimane.

“It is repeated a number of times that President Robert Mugabe gave  the president a number of gifts along the way – Nguni cattle, [and] art was given.”

Maimane said when controversial Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visited South Africa, he also came bearing gifts for Zuma.

“I was deeply saddened that when it was clear that in 2014 when Omar al-Bashir was also here, he also gave gifts to the Presidency. What is obviously of concern is – why is the president receiving gifts from a person wanted for crimes of genocide, and killing of African people. It was clear that the president is willing to get gifts from anybody,” said the opposition leader.

In detail, Maimane revealed that Zuma has declared receiving numerous gifts including the following – a hibiscus tea set from al-Bashir in 2014, a year before he visited South Africa and later fled the country after the high court ordered his detention; four bottles of Merlot wine from Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2016 – the first and only mention of Putin in the register – a gold watch from the UAE government in 2011 – the value of which was not disclosed; and two Parker pens from suspended Crime Intelligence Head, Richard Mdluli.

Maimane said the public record revealed that there “no directorships, no shareholding” has been declared by Zuma. 

The DA said Maimane’s trip to the Union Buildings comes “after President Zuma failed to answer an urgent question last week in the National Assembly as to whether he received any payments from his friend and tender mogul, Roy Moodley, or his company, Royal Security, at any time since he became President of the Republic of South Africa in May 2009”.

Zuma has vowed that he has declared anything he has received since he became president.

Maimane said Zuma had only declared in 2016 that Moodley allowed him to use a property in the Durban beachfront “for use”.

In the recently published book, The President’s Keepers, journalist and author Jacques Pauw claims Zuma was on the payroll of the security company owned by Moodley, earning R1-million a month for a period after becoming president of South Africa.

– African News Agency (ANA)