Round 2 on Nkandla-gate

2015-06-02 11:15
Nkandla. Picture: City Press

Nkandla. Picture: City Press

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Cape Town - The Nkandla matter returns to Parliament on Tuesday when the National Assembly Speaker is set to propose a resolution to constitute an ad hoc committee to process Police Minister Nathi Nhleko's report that absolves President Jacob Zuma from paying back any money spent on his private residence.

It is likely to go to a vote, but opposition parties are likely to oppose the resolution, depending on the committee's terms of reference.

If the ANC's majority carries the vote to constitute a new ad hoc committee, each party will need to nominate members for the committee, so it is unlikely to sit until next week at the earliest.

Issues

Opposition parties last year walked out on a similar committee after clashing with ANC MPs over calling Zuma to answer questions and the powers of the Public Protector.

These same issues will again be on the table on Tuesday, but the DA and EFF are already making other plans if the ANC members should again use their majority to rubberstamp a report that DA party’s lawyer Elzanne Jonker has told the Speaker is “unconstitutional and invalid, for want of rationality”.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane on Monday told a community meeting in Bethelsdorp, Nelson Mandela Bay, that the DA could not take part in something that is unlawful.

“What kind of message does the police minister send to criminals by saying President Zuma doesn’t have to pay back a cent for Nkandla?

“What President Zuma did was unlawful. Ask the Public Protector, she will tell you.

“We do not think it is fair for the president to be secure in comfort while ordinary South Africans live in fear of criminals every day,” Maimane said.

EFF spokesperson Mbuysieni Ndlozi said in a statement: “For Nhleko to suggest that Zuma must pay nothing when he unduly benefitted is laughable and against the law.”

Legal action

Ndlozi said the EFF is considering legal action against Zuma, Nhleko, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi and the Cabinet for what it said was a legal breach of the Constitution regarding the Nkandla matter.

“These parties have conspired to review, contradict and reverse the findings of the Public Protector which is an independent Chapter 9 institution,” Ndlozi said.

He said the law stated that the remedial actions proposed by the Public Protector must be complied with unless a party approaches a court of law to set them aside, which the Executive had not done.

“Our forthcoming court action will only form one part of a comprehensive programme to get back the money stolen from our people to benefit Jacob Zuma and his cronies. It will also include mass action,” said Ndlozi.

Media24 Parliamentary Bureau’s Alicestine October reported that ACDP MP Steve Swart said his party will give the ad hoc committee a chance, but if the ANC again tries to steamroll through Nhleko’s report without a proper debate, the party would reconsider its position.

Agang MP Andries Tlouamma said Nhleko’s report was “arrogance of the worst degree”.

“It is time we take the issue to the communities and start to mobilise and educate people on the [Nkandla] issue. If we sit in court the ANC will just appeal until Zuma has completed his term.”

The ANC has, however, welcomed the report. ANC chief whip Stone Sizane did not want to comment on the DA and EFF’s possible court actions, only saying the parties should not fight over Nkandla in the media.

- An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that an ad hoc committee would debate the Nkandla report, but the ad hoc committee first needs to be constituted.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  nkandla upgrade  |  parliament 2015

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