Nkandla upgrade: Frolick defends Zuma

2015-07-23 21:15
(Amanda Khoza, News24)

(Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Pietermaritzburg – Chairperson of the Nkandla ad hoc committee, Cedrick Frolick, on Thursday strongly defended President Jacob Zuma, saying that a damning police memo that suggested Zuma authorised the renovations in Nkandla needed to be interrogated.

“I do not share the same views that there are serious allegations, all of a sudden, against President Jacob Zuma. That is part of the reason why we are calling the minister of police to come and clarify the letter.

“When I look at the letter, I ask myself, did the person who sent out that communication have the authority to do so on behalf of the minister and the commissioner of police? Is it the line function of that person and also what has subsequently happened to this senior superintendent who wrote that communication?

“What were the communication lines with the president and since when does a divisional commissioner represent the president in terms of putting letters together and referring to the name of the president?

"We must be very careful before we can say there are serious allegations against the president,” said Frolick, referring to an internal police memorandum which states in no uncertain terms that extra flats be built for police members at his Nkandla home.

The letter, which was part of a file handed over to the committee by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko earlier this week, was discussed earlier during deliberations over the visit to the president’s homestead.

The letter reads: "By instruction of the State President, President Zuma, the existing house at Nkandla currently accommodate [sic] SAPS members must be converted as part of the president's household.

"To cater for the needs of the members currently accommodated in the house as refer above [sic], additional bachelor flats need to be added to the needs assessment previously provided to your department."

This instruction is signed by Senior Superintendent LF Linde.

Committee returning to Cape Town

Frolick said the committee had concluded its work in KwaZulu-Natal and would be returning to Cape Town where it would meet with the minister of public works and minister of police.

“The speaker has referred the correspondence and a report attached from the minister of public works to the committee, so the committee will look into that report and we will start the process of inviting the minister of police back to the committee to come and deal with outstanding issues, as well as the minister of public works.”

Frolick said the ad hoc committee would like to engage further with the minister of public works.

“That is likely to happen next week Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on the availability of those two members of the executive.

“We are aware that there is a Cabinet Lekgotla planned, but we will interact with the relevant office to ensure that we meet with them when the committee meets again.

“We are mindful that the date for the committee to report back to Parliament is August 7, and that means that there will be substantial meetings in the week to come."

In terms of whether more witnesses - including President Jacob Zuma and the principal agent, architect Minenhle Makhanya - would be called before the committee, Frolick said: “There is a general consensus today [Thursday] in recalling the minister of police and public works. There is no consensus yet on calling any other witnesses.

“We must be mindful that calling the contractor Mr Makhanya will have certain legal implications if the committee decides to do so. Mr Makhanya is currently facing a series of charges in court and we must be very careful that we do not subvert court processes by opening up such a situation.”

He said the committee would be getting legal advice on all the matters discussed on Thursday.

“We will look at the different actions later.”

He would not be drawn on whether Zuma would be held accountable.

“I am addressing you as the chairperson of the committee, not from the ANC caucus,” said Frolick.

'Very shoddy workmanship'

The committee spent Thursday deliberating over its findings after an in loco inspection of Zuma’s controversial homestead. Committee members expressed shock at the shoddy workmanship, inflated prices and the apparent waste of money on the homestead.

The NFP’s Nhlanhla Khubisa said money was squandered on Nkandla. “Where are we going to get money to complete the rest of the project? We wasted R246m of taxpayers’ money,” he said.

ANC MP Mmathulare Coleman said: “First world prices were paid for third world work.”

The ACDP’s Steve Swart said: “What is very apparent was very shoddy workmanship. Tiles lifting, cracking walls and dust, and that is why the members of the public have been outraged."

ANC MP’s also discredited Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s Nkandla report, saying that it was not legally binding and that she had misled the country.

Outspoken ANC MP Thandi Mahambehlala said: “The report has misled the country. It has misled South Africans and tarnished the image... and credibility of our government.”

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  cedric frolick  |  thuli madonsela  |  pietermaritzburg  |  nkandla upgrade

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