Sanef unfair on criticism of Nkandla visit: ANC

2015-07-22 13:57
(Amanda Khoza, News24)

(Amanda Khoza, News24)

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WATCH: Hands off our President - ANC supporters chant outside Nkandla

2015-07-22 12:29

Despite the gloomy weather ANC members have gathered in full support outside President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead during a parliamentary committee visit. Watch. WATCH

Johannesburg - The ANC has accused the SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) of being ill-informed about the scope of Parliament's powers, following criticism that the media were not allowed to accompany the ad hoc committee on a site visit to President Jacob Zuma's residence in Nkandla on Wednesday.

Journalists have now been allowed inside the gate, but were only given access to public places.

"The allegations are without basis, ill-informed and reflects a misunderstanding of the basic functioning of Parliament and the scope of its powers granted to it by the Constitution," ANC Chief Whip Moloto Mothapo said.

"The powers and functions of the Speaker [Baleka Mbete] to whom the request for media access to the President's residence was made by Media24, are restricted to Parliament, and do not extend to the residence of the President."

Beyond Speaker’s powers

This meant that the Speaker of Parliament only had the power of ensuring public access to parliamentary sittings within and outside the seat of Parliament in Cape Town, he said.

"...As she has done regarding the ad hoc committee meetings currently taking place at the KZN Legislature in Pietermaritzburg, it is beyond her powers to decide who should access the private family home of the President."

Mothapo said neither the Speaker nor the chairperson of the ad hoc committee, Cedric Frolick, had that kind of authority.

Earlier, Sanef expressed its shock over the refusal to allow the media to accompany the committee.

In a letter to Frolick, Sanef said it believed the committee had a duty to ensure the media gained access.

Constitutional provisions

Sanef said there were several provisions in the Constitution that bolstered its view that the committee had a duty to allow the media to be present.

The forum believed the committee had a duty to ensure that the media gained access to the residence to enable it to observe all its activities and any formal or informal and impromptu discussions conducted by the committee and its members during the visit.

"The issues surrounding the ‘Nkandla matter’ have correctly raised enormous public interest over a lengthy period and the public have a right to know how matters relating to the controversy are being dealt with."

Sanef called on Frolick to send a request to Zuma for the media to be allowed to enter the residence with the committee.

Read more on:    sanef  |  anc  |  moloto mothapo  |  pietermaritzburg  |  nkandla upgrade  |  media

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