ANC for Nklandla probe, but won’t be pushed

2014-06-11 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The ANC also wants Parliament to handle the­ ­Nkandla issue, but will not let itself be prescribed to by opposition parties on how this should be done.

This was the message from Moloto Mothapo, the ANC’s parliamentary spokesperson, yesterday amid much pressure from several opposition parties for a second parliamentary ad hoc committee to be appointed to probe the government’s spending at President Jacob Zuma’s private estate in Nkandla.

ANC MPs had been quiet on the issue since the first ad hoc committee on Nkandla was disbanded ahead of the elections.

This led to rumours that the ANC intended to sweep the Nkandla issue under the carpet.

Mothapo yesterday broke this silence, saying the ANC is in principle not against the matter being decided in Parliament. He said there was no doubt that Parliament has the responsibility to handle the Public Protector report, but added the issue “had to be handled thoroughly and comprehensively”.

The DA had earlier asked Baleka Mbete, Speaker in the National Assembly (NA), in a letter to appoint a second committee as the first ad hoc committee did not have enough time to meet its mandate.

The DA asked for an answer to its request by 5 pm today. Several opposition parties, including the EFF, FF+, IFP and UDM, yesterday said they support a second Nkandla committee.

Floyd Shivambu, EFF Chief Whip, said his party will definitely take part.

He said all the departments that had spent tax payers’ money at ­Nkandla must be called to account. “Whoever misled the Parliament, must be held accountable.”

Dr Corné Mulder, FF+ Chief Whip, said the sooner such a committee was appointed, the better.

Mothapo said the ANC wanted Parliament to handle the issue, but dismissed the DA’s request as “a publicity stunt” because granting it would go against the assembly’s rules, which stipulate the Speaker may only appoint an ad hoc committee after consulting with the political parties’ chief whips when Parliament has been in recess for longer than 14 days.

While the Parliament is in session, an ad hoc committee must be appointed by a resolution of the House.

DA MP James Selfe said Parliament will not be in session for more than 14 days, even if it is not a recess, and that is why the Speaker may act.

President Jacob Zuma had promised before the elections to react fully to the PP’s report after the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) had completed its Nkandla probe.

SIU spokesperson Boy Ndala said the report should be ready before the end of the month, when it will be handed to the president, who will then decide whether to make it public or not.

Guidelines around the report

1. The Speaker in the National Assembly (NA) can in consultation with the political parties’ chief whips decide to appoint an ad hoc committee to act on the Public Protector’s (PP) report when Parliament has been in recess for longer than 14 days. After the committee had studied the report, it will send its recommendations to the House.

2. When the Parliament is in session, the House can accept a resolution to appoint an ad hoc committee to act on the PP’s report and submit its recommendations to Parliament.

3. The NA can decide to appoint a number of parliamentary portfolio committees to handle the report.

In this case each committee will handle the issues that impacts on its portfolio.

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