Ben Turok: ‘Zuma must have known on Nkandla’

2014-03-28 00:00

THE head of Parliament’s ethics committee, struggle veteran Ben Turok, says President Jacob Zuma must have known work was being done on his Nkandla home that was not warranted for security purposes.

He said the report by the public protector was creditable.

“At the end of the day, it’s your house and you are in control. If they build an airport [on the property], surely you have something to say? I would think there are limits to what could be done.”

Turok said the public protector clearly did detailed work in her investigation.

“I am convinced there was indulgence.”

He said several ministers have some explaining to do.

Turok, who stood trial for treason with former president Nelson Mandela in 1956, was asked whether the issue concerns the ANC.

“It is definitely a party matter. Anything that concerns the president of a party is a party matter.”

He said the case doesn’t fall under the ethics committee he chaired as Zuma is not an MP.

“Ministers implicated by the Nkandla report are MPs and they will, therefore, fall under the ethics committee’s mandate.”

Turok indicated the ANC’s top-six leadership must now play an important role.

“The top six are the final bosses of the movement. From them, it goes to the national working committee and from there to the national executive committee. The top six lay down the rules.”

Turok, who will not be returning to Parliament after the election, is not the only high-profile ANC member to speak out on the Nkandla question.

Pallo Jordan, a former arts minister and current NEC member, in a sharply worded opinion piece in Business Day yesterday, called on the ANC to have the moral courage to accept responsibility for the Nkandla issue. He also questioned the role of the implicated ministers.

He said yesterday that he stood by his piece, but did not want to discuss it further.

The ANC’s top six are deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize, chairperson Baleka Mbete, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and his deputy Jessie Duarte.

Duarte said last night she would not discuss the Nkandla issue.

“You [the media] have enough information. We have issued a statement.”

She also said she had no comment on Turok’s opinion.

“The ANC will decide how to handle the Nkandla report,” she said.

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