Parly committee officially adopts Nhleko’s report on Nkandla

2015-08-07 08:44
The swimming pool at Nkandla. (Matthew Middleton, News24)

The swimming pool at Nkandla. (Matthew Middleton, News24)

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The parliamentary committee scrutinising the expenditure of R246 million to upgrade President Jacob Zuma’s home has officially adopted Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s report and findings. 

Nhleko’s report, which was released in May, exonerated Zuma and found that he was not liable for the nonsecurity upgrades, such as the swimming pool, amphitheatre, cattle kraal and chicken run. In contrast, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report found that Zuma had to pay a portion of the total cost, an amount meant to be determined by the police. 

The committee’s findings were arrived at through a vote, after about three hours of toing and froing as opposition parties rejected Nhleko’s report in its entirety and instead produced their own report, which was based on Madonsela’s report. 

Their report was rejected – outvoted by seven votes to three. 

In the end, the committee adopted a one-and-a-half page report drafted by the ANC. It was based on Nhleko’s Nkandla report. 

The report states that: 

» South Africans were misled about the opulence of the private residence of the president; 
» There is a gross exaggeration of the scope, scale and cost of the project; 
» There is no value for money spent on the project and there is a gross inflation of prices; 
» The workmanship is shoddy and of a poor quality; 
» Most of the work is incomplete, especially that which relates to security monitoring of the president’s private residence; and 
» It is clear that the current security arrangements are insufficient and incomplete. 

“There is general consensus that those responsible for deviations from the Public Finance Management Act should be held accountable and the money must be recovered from those found guilty of these transgressions,” found the ANC. 

The ANC also noted that various departments and entities were pursuing civil, criminal and disciplinary steps against various persons. 

It said that the committee was satisfied with the efforts made by the ministers of police and public works to comply with the recommendations of the previous ad hoc committee, particularly in the area of strengthening of budgeting processes. 

The ANC recommended that the executive ensure that “all necessary steps are undertaken to ensure that the safety of the head of state and his family is not compromised”. 

It also recommended that the portfolio committees of public works, police and the joint standing committee on intelligence should ensure continuous monitoring of corrective actions to be taken by the relevant national departments. 

It also recommended that the relevant departments and law enforcement authorities ensure the expeditious conclusion of civil, criminal and disciplinary matters. 

The nine opposition parties led by the DA proposed in their report that Nhleko’s report be rejected in its entirety saying it was unconstitutional and irrational. 

They also claimed that Nhleko’s report was “amateurish, facile and superficial”. 

“Embarrassingly, it relies on desktop research that would not pass muster for an average high school assignment, far less a report to Parliament,” they said. 

The opposition parties said they participated in the Nkandla process in good faith, motivated largely by the undertaking given by the ANC chief whip in the National Assembly that “all and any” witnesses could be called before the committee. 

The EFF was not part of the ad hoc committee. It refused to participate in it, saying from the onset that it does not recognise Nhleko’s report.

The report would be submitted to the speaker today and was expected to be debated in the house later this month.

Read more on:    jacob ­zuma  |  parliament

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