South African Presidency says Zuma not stalling bank bill

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Johannesburg, Sep 5 (IANS) South Africa has denied reports that President Jacob Zuma was stalling the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill as part of an attempt to “clip the independence and powers” of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

The report on Monday was “misleading and incorrect”, Xinhua news agency quoted presidential spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga as saying.

The report said the developments surrounding the bill, which has been brought to the president for his consideration and assent, “form part of an orchestrated attack by parts of the government and the ANC (African National Congress) aligned to Zuma on the treasury, Gordhan and the Reserve Bank, with a view to clipping their independence and powers”.

That was the reason why the bill has not yet been signed into law, the report said.

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“This is a gross distortion of the facts,” Ngqulunga said, adding that the President received an objection to the signing of the bill from the Progressive Professionals Forum.

“When the President is petitioned not to sign a bill, he has to consider the merits of such objection focusing mainly on whether the interested parties raise valid constitutional issues,” said Ngqulunga.

It is not the first time that the President has taken time to consider a bill for similar reasons.

Currently, the President has not signed the Expropriation Bill, the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill and the Protection of State Information Bill, because various parties petitioned him not to do so, citing concerns about their constitutionality, Ngqulunga said, adding that all these concerns are being looked into.

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Zuma also sent the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill back to the National Assembly last year on the ground that certain provisions of the bill are unconstitutional.

“Journalists are urged to stick to the facts and ensure balance and fairness in the coverage of news and current affairs,” Ngqulunga added.



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