What should Zuma do?

2014-03-24 00:00

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has one of three options after the investigation into the upgrades to his private estate at Nkandla that had cost the taxpayer R246 million: resign, admit guilt, or ask for the Public Protector’s report to be reviewed.

And if he does not doubt the report, he will have to provide answers to Parliament. Sister paper Beeld asked experts for their views on what the president’s next step should be after advocate Thuli Madonsela’s report found that the final costs Nkandla come to a conservative estimate of R246 million.

• Professor Amanda Gouws, lecturer in political sciences at the University of Stellenbosch:

“If he is an honourable man, he will accept the report and resign as president, but we know he will not do it.

“The other thing is that he admits he made mistakes and that he was not aware of it and that the people who were involved, must be prosecuted.

“The second option shows that he is not honourable and this would mean that he does not accept accountability.

“And the third option is to remain quiet — which he has been doing to date. With the Parliament’s question and answers sessions, he will however have to answer.”

• Advocate Vusi Pikoli, former head of the national prosecution authority who had decided to prosecute Zuma on charges of corruption:

“I think he must view the report in a serious light and give proper consideration to the recommendations and act

accordingly.

“Must he resign? That decision is for him and the ANC to make. I will not insist on his resignation.”

• Dave Stewart, executive director of the F.W. de Klerk foundation, said De Klerk is currently overseas.

“The foundation has serious doubts about the leadership ability of President Jacob Zuma. The only power now remains in the votes of the people on May 7, who have to decide who they want as leader.”

• The Desmond and Leah Tutu foundation:

“We commend our Public Protector, Ms Thuli Madonsela, for her courage in investigating and reporting without fear or favour on the +R200 million upgrade to President Jacob Zuma’s residential complex in Nkandla.

The suggestion by the ruling party and its allies that the timing of the release of the report was a political ploy by the Public Protector to influence the looming general election is scandalous nonsense.

Had the Public Protector just completed an important investigation involving the leader of the DA or the EFF, for example, would the ruling party accuse her of politicking? Probably not.

No, the truth is that had the Public Protector deliberately withheld information about Nkandla she would have been guilty of a fatal bias in favour of the ruling party, and she would have been guilty of denying the people’s right to know and make informed choices.

We hope that patriotic South Africans of integrity and decency, of whom there are many, will respond appropriately to the Public Protector’s report.

“We hope that they will act with principle rather than slide into the quicksand of feeble excuses.”

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