Nhleko grilled about Nkandla...again - As it happened

2015-07-29 11:30

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko fielded many tough questions at the special ad hoc Parliamentary committee on Nkandla. Catch all the updates from the morning session as it unfolded.

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Last Updated at 10:03
29 Jul 13:03

...And chairperson Cedric Frolick has called for a lunch break.

We will be closing the Live Update shortly. Follow News24 for all updates from the sitting of the ad hoc committee...


29 Jul 12:57

With regards to the firepool... “It is elevated for some reason or the other and experts determined that," Nhleko says.

“Regarding the extension of the kraal, the question that arises is: suppose that is what he asked for? Why then has this extension not taken place?”


29 Jul 12:54
“Let me just say chair that this is one of the problems that I would hope, from a political leadership point of view, are issues we need to attend to.

In South Africa today, if you disagree with somebody on an issue, you throw something else and begin to find fault. Let's deal with the issue before us. We can't just be personal.”

29 Jul 12:52
“You have this thing which gets repeated and re-said that your job relies on the president. In my response, in our conduct as South Africans, we can only rely on one thing and one thing alone and that is constitutional principles.

“If I were to begin to see individuals, you would compromise principles underlying society and watering things down. I swore to be faithful to the public of SA and would obey and respect all laws and hold office with dignity and be true and faithful.”

29 Jul 12:49

Nhleko answers question of relying and re-hashing reports.

"In the review of the literature, there is no way you are going to look at other documents and not look at what the public protector said and what the SIU said," he says to Breytenbach.

"I wouldn't agree with your view that there has been re-hashing."


29 Jul 12:48

“In your previous job, I am sure you were supervising people and those very same people, when they wanted things to be done in a certain way; they say my supervisor needs that. When the SIU makes this observation I have no qualms with it. I agree with that.”

“To Breytenbach... you also raised the issue of the experts' reports. You have the file I submitted. You also have the written narration by a cultural expert for example. Also a narration by the fire expert people in terms of what they think after they have assessed the situation. There is absolutely no problem in making that available.”


29 Jul 12:47
“Honourable Breytenbach raises the Linde issue. I don't disagree with the SIU observation about name-dropping. I don't. Having been part of the civil service for some years at different levels, these are things as an administrator I have witnessed and seen in different ways."

29 Jul 12:43
In reference to the distance between the president's house and barracks: “What happens a metre away from your property is not yours. We all know that. It could be 300m away or a kilometre away. The fact of the matter is that it is not part of the property.”

29 Jul 12:39
“On the matter of experts: if you were to take the security evaluation report, in it article 19, which is a comment section, it states that when security measures are implemented and structures are affected, it would be advisable to consult structural experts."

29 Jul 12:37
“How many levels are we talking about above Linde? Basically you would be saying that he needed to jump all those levels going down to deputy director to instruct a junior level? There is nothing senior about him in relation to the matter in question," declares Nhleko.

29 Jul 12:37

“The president was to report on his comments and actions on report within 14 days.  Of significance is the mere fact that the minister of police had to be instructed by a resolution of Parliament. There can be all sorts of interpretations about Linde's role.

“The matter was investigated by SIU and interviewed Linde. What he says is on record.”


29 Jul 12:33

And the sitting restarts with the police minister answering MP's questions...

Nhleko: “Let me start with experts. The public protector’s report, page 442, I think, focuses on remedial action. In there she states in article 11.1 that the president is to take steps with assistance of national treasury and the Saps to determine costs that do not relate to security.

“It is not the minister of police's choice to confine himself. It is what the public protector has pointed out for example.”


29 Jul 12:25
Chairperson Frolick calls for a quick five-minute 'comfort break'.

29 Jul 12:24

“To blame the president for something he doesn't know is uncalled for.

“She raises the point that drugs were allegedly found in Maimane's church. If Honourable chair, if we want to believe that Maimane knew about those drugs, then that would create a problem. Some people go and plant things in your homestead and then others will say that you are accountable. That is problematic.”


29 Jul 12:22
“Soil retention walls come in different shapes and designs. We didn't see any entertainment area, there is no stage, there is nothing. We have seen the need for that construction of that wall so we understand it is for security purpose."

29 Jul 12:21

“Why is the family kraal not extended if that was the request that the president had?

“Honourable Minister please respond to that. On the soil retention wall, Honourable Maimane... you always claim you are from Soweto. I am sure you would know better what an amphitheatre or entertainment area looks like.”


29 Jul 12:20
“Because from little knowledge I have and maybe because I am from rural areas myself, swimming pools would be behind houses or in a corner. If I want to put on a swimming costume, I can't do that near the entrance or in front of a gate.”

29 Jul 12:19
“Fortunately for us the minister came back to us with a report and said all these features are security features. You can imagine if there could be fire there, what would happen? If we say that a fire pool or swimming pool is meant for entertainment, then honourable minister, I want to know why is the swimming pool constructed at the entrance of that homestead?”asks Dlakude.

29 Jul 12:18

“The recommendations were that the public protector is not a security expert so there is no way she could have said if something is or is not a security feature.

“The ad-hoc committee also acknowledged we were not security experts.”


29 Jul 12:15
"The minister of police’s report is only responding to recommendations of the previous ad-hoc committee," says Dlakude.

29 Jul 12:14

The ANC's Dorris Dlakude gets a turn to speak...

“We are not opening or conducting an investigation but dealing with response.”


29 Jul 12:12

“I want to be upfront chair and say that all of us, after we came from Nkandla, we were saying the report of the minister of police was actually an eye-opener and now today it can.

“Today it can’t be credible? I find that opportunistic.

“Nothing that we found there was not in the police minister's report,” she concludes.


29 Jul 12:10

“Maimane is telling us about a fire pool which is in actual fact a swimming pool. It is a pity you were not part of our meeting in Pietermaritzburg," says Mahambehlala.

“All of us as committee members unanimously agreed that is not a fire pool. It is a swimming pool which is used as a reliable water resource in the case of any fire that might erupt.

“Hence there were hosepipes and a demonstration. My understanding of a swimming pool meant for entertainment is that it must have chlorine, it must be clean and what have you.

“What we saw there, no one could swim in it. It had no chlorine. To come here and say there is an entertainment area there, we don't see any such area there.

“There are no walls for privacy. We should not come here and create an impression because we see all these cameras when we all of were in Nkandla and saw exactly what transpired there.”


29 Jul 12:07
Thandi Mahambehlala of the ANC is now speaking...

29 Jul 12:00

“If you want your report to carry any credibility and for us to accept it, we need to verify what you have said with the public protector and the head of the SIU report.

“I find it extraordinarily hard that that side of the house has not called these individuals. I find it very telling, transparent and quite astonishing.

“I would like your comment on that.”


29 Jul 11:59
“If you want your report to carry any credibility and for us to accept it, we need to verify what you have said with the public protector and the head of the SIU report.”

29 Jul 11:58
“All you have done is relied on these reports. It is not even hearsay. It is less reliable than hearsay. You are re-hashing the views of others," says Breytenbach.

29 Jul 11:57

“Said with greatest respect, both of you rely on the president for your jobs and to a certain degree are controllable.

“Two people who should be here are the public protector and the head of the SIU report. They have security of tenure and they are harder to get rid of. They have more independence.”


29 Jul 11:55

“I asked you in Pietermaritzburg and I’m not sure I made myself clear...

“I asked if you would make available the reports of the experts upon whom you relied in your report."

Two reasons: a) “Are they in fact experts? There is nothing here to suggest that any of these people were experts. b) “You refer to other experts whose reports I don't find and they are the ones I have more trouble with eg. The cultural expert.”


29 Jul 11:53

Let's start with Linde: "You say that no action has been taken against him. As it is, he is sitting at his office in Silverton and has two years to go to pension. But a senior superintendent, I cannot agree with you, is not a junior official...he is in fact a full Colonel.

“You and I both know that Mr Linde didn't write this letter. The divisional commissioner of supply chain management did. Mr Linde is just the "poor fool who does the signing and writing.

“So this picture you sketch about him being a junior official is not quite true.”


29 Jul 11:49
Now moving onto DA's Breytenbach for questions to Nhleko...

29 Jul 11:48
“Personally chairperson, I am not in favour of spending one further single cent on this. The taxpayer has done that already. Let's go find the missing millions first.”

29 Jul 11:47

“Why would the department of Public Works find it necessary to build 21 houses for police and the army at that exact location?

“You indicated to us minister that 21 houses are 1.1km away from president's house. If you go as crow flies, it is 300m away. Why so close?

"We all know why. Let's not fool ourselves. Obviously because the president stays adjacent to that and it is there to serve the president.”


29 Jul 11:44

"Why not listen to Mr Linde? Why on earth would you go around misusing the president's name? Why would you do that? What benefit is there to you? Don't you want to hear what Mr Linde has to say?" says Pieter Mulder.

Mulder says the committee cannot go around hanging, judging and sentencing people without first having listened to them.


29 Jul 11:42
Mulder said it was concerning that Nhleko has chosen to use some parts of the SIU report and then ignore "damning" sections.

29 Jul 11:41

Pieter Mulder of the Freedom Front Plus now asking questions:

"Fire pool cannot be found in the dictionary.

“We need to stop referring to the pool as a fire pool. What fire pool is made in that shape?

“It is a swimming pool.”


29 Jul 11:35

29 Jul 11:33

"On last two points of Mr Singh’s question, regarding the architect’s appointment and the neglect of Nkandla, the Public Works Minister will talk to such issues."

Minister Nhleko now finishes answers to first round of questions...

Chairperson Frolick now opens the floor up for questions for Public Works minister Thulas Nxesi.


29 Jul 11:32
The question of a police station on state land: "There were negotiations around the building of a police station but it could not be built because negotiations collapsed."

29 Jul 11:32
The question of a police station on state land: "There were negotiations around the building of a police station but it could not be built because negotiations collapsed."

29 Jul 11:25

But what is clear from the SIU report, Nhleko continues, is that Linde invented this and admitted to this.

“Unless Honourable Maimane, you want to suggest that this Linde was subjected to some horrific type of pressure, to turn around and say he invented this...”


29 Jul 11:23

"The issue of superintendent Linde's delegated powers. I think that matter, for me it's not possible to give you overall delegation framework sitting here.

"But I think it's a matter that will become clearer as there are further follow-ups."


29 Jul 11:22
Nhleko now addresses MP Singh’s question: "It is incorrect to suggest that when I spoke about R135.2m regarding barracks, that I did not say anything about professional fees. I did."

29 Jul 11:18
“You say that I as a minister would succumb if the president had to come to me and say do something. I wouldn't,” Nhleko declares.

29 Jul 11:18

Maimane raises point of order but MPs mumble their disapproval.

Minister Nhleko is allowed to carry on. Maimane wanted a point of clarity, but Nhleko carries on.


29 Jul 11:17

“There is this tendency in civil service of name-dropping. If I want certain things to be done in a particular way, it is a common exercise.

"I find it quite intriguing Honourable Maimane that regardless, if your name has been used, it is immaterial that indeed you did say so or you did not say so. I find that problematic."

Minister Nhleko was referring to the way in which people refer to the president.


29 Jul 11:14
"Senior superintendent Linde works for the Saps and not for the presidency. To suggest that the president would go to him, that a head of state would go to a deputy director seven levels below, is highly improbable.”

29 Jul 11:12

Nhleko now addresses Maimane...

“You spoke about issues. All that we made available to yourselves as members of the committee is where is the issue of the fire pool come from. It doesn't arise now.  

“The only discrepancy is that at the level of execution and construction of such a fire pool, instead of having that 138kl capacity, it is said that the architect proceeded with a pool of 175kl. That is the only discrepancy.

"Is it a security feature? Yes, it is a security feature in terms of how it was considered."


29 Jul 11:09

“Regarding the discussion between Zuma and Madonsela as highlighted in her report.

“We shouldn't forget that the president compiled a report reacting to the Public Protector's report and the discussions here in Parliament which basically refute or dispute the existence of such a discussion.

“It is important that that is what we know and what essentially has got to be followed. A discussion between two people is something we don't know.

“What we know is a report filed by the president with parliament in which he refutes the discussions.”


29 Jul 11:08
Nhleko continues... “I have never seen an estimation as fact. I do not know about the calculation of estimates. I don't know what informed the R31m estimate.”

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