PP’s report ‘a test for Parliament’

2014-04-04 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The public protector’s Nkandla report is the biggest test of Parliament’s independence since its creation in 1994, political parties said after President Jacob Zuma’s answer to the protector’s report was yesterday officially submitted to the speaker’s office.

In his letter to the speaker, Zuma said he will wait on the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to finish its Nkandla probe before he gives Parliament a complete answer.

Max Sisulu, speaker of the National Assembly, must now decide what Parliament’s next step will be.

Frene Ginwale, the first speaker of SA’s democratically elected parliament, yesterday told sister paper Beeld that although Sisulu is a loyal ANC cadre, Parliament was capable of making a decision regarding the Nkandla report “absolutely independently”.

“We have a Constitution that determines the rules. It is the speaker’s function [to act independently]. The speaker is elected by the National Assembly, the same people who appointed the public protector and the president.

“You will not or should not appoint someone as speaker if you do not trust that person to act independently.”

ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani said through his spokesperson that Sisulu has already shown he acts independently and with integrity.

“There has never been a question about his ability to be impartial. Everyone has political views, even the public protector, but it is now a reason to doubt their independence.”

The speaker can decide to convene the National Assembly to debate the report or decide to appoint an ad hoc committee to handle the report.

He can also decide no action is required.

His decision will determine to what extent Zuma and the relevant ministers involved in the Nkdandle scandal will be held accountable.

DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said the speaker’s decision will show to what extent the legislature is independent of the ANC government.

“We trust the speaker of the National Assembly will act in the best interest of the Constitution.”

Dr Corné Mulder, Freedom Front Plus MP, said his party wants to believe the speaker will act independently and correctly.

Mulder said Sisulu must take the right decision and not bow to pressure from Luthuli House.

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