Political parties will have their turn with Nkandla report

2015-05-28 18:44
(City Press)

(City Press)

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Johannesburg - A multi-party ad-hoc committee in Parliament would be established to scrutinise the Minister of Police's report which found that President Jacob Zuma does not have to pay back anything related to the security upgrades to his home in Nkandla, the ANC's office of the Chief Whip said on Thursday.

"We are pleased that all parties have submitted the names of their representatives to this committee, which should speed up its creation and operation,'' said spokesperson Moloto Mothapo after the release of the report.

This was after Nhleko said the ministry's investigation had found that the upgrades, which included a swimming pool, cattle and goat kraal, chicken coop, cattle culvert, amphitheatre and visitors' centre were for security purposes.

Water from the pool could be used to put out fires because the local fire brigade was slow and under-equipped, the cattle would no longer trigger false alarms when they bumped into the security fence, the amphitheatre was a security assembly point with ecological benefits, and the visitors' centre was needed for Zuma's meetings for locals and dignitaries.

The report came after another released last year by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela that Zuma pay back some of the money that was not related to security features.

The Chief Whip's office said: "Following a thorough expert assessment, quantification and costing of the security upgrades, it has been established that only a total of R50 523 884.88 [excluding consultancy fees of R20.6m] was spent at President’s private residence in Nkandla.

"The rest of the spend, totalling R135.2m, was made on government-owned land for i.e. the erection of the clinic, erection of SANDF and staff quarters and for other public use. These are public facilities and are not erected at the President’s private homestead."

The statement said that the report proved that features such as the pool, visitors’ centre and amphitheatre were not erected at Zuma's private residence, "but in the outer perimeter fence nearby President’s residence". 

This did not amount to any direct undue benefit, Mothapo said.

"We appreciate the Minister of Police’s elaborate report, with exceptional expert opinion, which went beyond the call by Public Protector’s recommendation."

'An insult to SA people'

But Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said the report was "an insult to the South African people" and a "cover up".

"The DA will not allow the President to get away with the theft of public funds. We have, therefore, referred the matter to our legal team for the consideration of the rationale of Minister Nhleko’s determination, and our constitutional and legal remedies," he said.

The party would wait for the ad-hoc committee's terms of reference before deciding what to do and would insist that it include all relevant staffers who Nhleko spoke to in compiling the report.

The party was among those who walked out of a previous committee on the Nkandla spending.

"The DA strongly condemns the rejection of the findings made by Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela. In her report entitled “Secure in Comfort”, released in March last year, Advocate Madonsela found that that the President must repay a fair portion back for unduly benefiting from this project."

The DA believes Zuma is liable for at least R52.9m for the non-security upgrades to his private home in KwaZulu-Natal. The party believes he is also liable for the tax on the fringe benefit received from the upgrades.

'Pay back the money'

The Economic Freedom Fighters, famous for its refrain of "pay back the money" called Nhleko's report a "failed propaganda spin". 

"The minister and the executive are seeking to undermine the public’s intelligence with their conclusion that President Zuma does not have to pay any money, and that in fact he needs more money for security upgrades," spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said.

It said the protector's report was clear that there be no further security measures installed at Nkandla.

Nhleko had noted that further security upgrades are needed.

The EFF said Nhleko would "never be expected to investigate the President because of his position as his employee".

"He could never be expected to tell his boss to pay for corruption. The Public Protector, an independent constitutional structure, gave him a simple task: to determine how much did the non-security features cost because the finding is simple - that will be the cost Zuma must pay."

The EFF did not "buy all the stories, bioskops [sic] and cultural idioms used to cover up the truth. We warned long ago that the delay in publishing the cost of non-security features was because cabinet was cooking the report to try and protect the corruption of Jacob Zuma". 

As long as Zuma did not pay back the money, the EFF would use every opportunity in Parliament to demand that he pay back the money.

It warned that the Minister of Police and the Cabinet would "cook" the Marikana Commission report until nobody was responsible for the shootings.

Read more on:    mmusi maimane  |  jacob zuma  |  thuli madonsela  |  nkandla upgrade

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