Western Cape Premier Helen Zille on Thursday rejected President Jacob Zuma’s claim that she leaked “confidential contents” from a consultation meeting he had with Premiers last month.
Zuma on Wednesday said he was “disappointed” that Zille had again released confidential information to the public ahead of the State of the Nation Address on February 11 and the Budget speech on February 24.
In response, Zille – who included the information in her latest Inside Government Newsletter: Our budget crisis forces a choice between Salaries and Services – wrote a letter to the President.
She starts off by asking: “What ‘confidential contents’ of the President’s consultation with the Premiers on 19th January in Pretoria did I allegedly leak?”
Zille said that even though the written presentation was marked “secret”, she was careful not to include the statistics from the presentation in her newsletter.
She also explained that it was common practice in the Western Cape to discuss the implications of the budget crisis with provincial colleagues, as per the President’s instructions.
“We believe in the greatest transparency possible on matters of public interest, as impending budget cuts indeed are,” the Zille said.
Zuma also complained about what he said were Zille’s previous “unauthorised disclosure” of information ahead of the 2014 National General Elections.
In her letter to Zuma, Zille writes: “I also note that you accuse me of having leaked confidential information in the past. I categorically deny this. In 2014, after a briefing with the IEC, I merely shared, on social media, that an announcement on the election date would by made by the President”.
Zille said although she knew what the date would be, she never announced it.
“Merely saying an announcement would be made, is not a breach of confidentiality,” said Zille.
In conclusion, Zille said that is was very unfortunate that the President has publicly called her credibility into question and that she expected further clarity as to which information was leaked.[Source: IOL]