EFF scores Nkandla victory; DA wants to join in

2015-09-04 12:14
(File, Amanda Khoza, News24)

(File, Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Johannesburg - Efforts by political parties to call President Jacob Zuma to account over the Nkandla matter should not be seen as turf battles, the Democratic Alliance said on Friday.

“This is not a turf battle. This is vitally important jurisprudence for our constitutional democracy and it’s too important to indulge in who won what battle,” MP James Selfe said.

He was responding to a report in Beeld newspaper, quoting a political analyst, that the EFF had beaten the DA on its own turf by being granted direct access to the Constitutional Court.

Selfe said the party was surprised by the Constitutional Court’s decision.

The Economic Freedom Fighters wanted Zuma and National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to be held accountable - Zuma for his failure to comply with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's findings on Nkandla, and Mbete for her failure to hold the executive to account.

Western Cape High Court action

Selfe said the party was preparing an application to join the EFF’s action, but not on the same grounds.

“They deal substantially with the same matter, so we will apply to have them heard together.”

It was not yet clear how this would affect the party’s Western Cape High Court action. This would be clearer later once the advocates had drawn up the papers.

In the high court matter the DA submitted that Zuma’s failure to rationally engage with Madonsela’s findings and comply with her suggested remedial action be declared irrational and set aside as unconstitutional and invalid.

The party had another matter that would be heard in the Supreme Court of Appeal on September 18, when it would ask for a finding to be made on the Public Protector’s powers.

“What is vital in all this is not whether President Zuma pays back the money, but whether the Public Protector, as a constitutional institution, has a clear understanding of what her powers are and what the scope of her remedial action would be,” Selfe said.

Madonsela’s findings

EFF leader Julius Malema referred requests for comment to his spokesperson Fana Mokoena, who could not be reached.

Madonsela found Zuma unduly benefitted from spending of R246m on so-called security upgrades to his Nkandla homestead. She recommended he repay a reasonable part of the money not spent on security features.

Zuma subsequently asked Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko to compile his own report. He found Zuma did not have to repay a cent as all the features installed were necessary for security.

Madonsela had said Zuma misinterpreted her own findings when he appointed Nhleko to conduct his own probe.

Read more on:    da  |  eff  |  nkandla upgrade  |  politics

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