DA to oppose Nhleko's findings on Nkandla

2015-07-19 14:39
MMusi Maimane (Beeld)

MMusi Maimane (Beeld)

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Johannesburg - The DA will use the ad hoc committee considering Police Minister Nathi Nhleko's report on Nkandla to reject its findings, party leader Mmusi Maimane said on Sunday.

The Democratic Alliance would oppose Nhleko's determination that President Jacob Zuma did not have to pay for any of the security upgrades to his private residence, Maimane told reporters in Johannesburg.

"While the DA will not be party to the rubber-stamping of the police minister's report, it will participate on the committee as part of a robust undertaking to have the report invalidated," Maimane said.

"To this end the DA's participation on the committee in no way condones the report by the minister of police, which we contend is fraught with credibility issues, at odds with constitutional principles, and is therefore irrational."

No legal standing

Nhleko's report had no legal standing and could not nullify the remedial action ordered by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in her own report, Maimane said.

Madonsela's report Secure in Comfort, released in March 2014, found Zuma had to repay a "reasonable" portion of the R246 million spent on upgrades that were not related to security.

The DA "stands firmly behind the public protector's report and rejects any attempts to subvert her findings".

If Zuma was unhappy with Madonsela's report, it was up to him to mount a legal challenge to have its findings set aside.

Nhleko's report was biased, flawed due to a conflict of interest as he was a member of Cabinet, poorly drafted, and in places factually inaccurate, Maimane said.

Political accountability

"None of us want to compromise the president's security. What we are desperate to understand is the political accountability. The ANC could kick the ball backwards and forwards, and have a few people disagreeing...the president has unduly benefited quite clearly."

In his report, released at the end of May, Nhleko found that additions to Zuma’s private residence at Nkandla – a swimming pool , amphitheatre and visitors’ centre – were essential for his safety and that he therefore did not have to pay for them.

The report's release was accompanied by some bizarre videos, including one featuring an interview with a “culture expert”, who said a cattle kraal played an important role in Zulu culture and that its purpose was to protect animals.

However, Nhleko said the kraal built at Nkandla was not for cultural practices. It was not even a kraal, but an animal camp that included a tunnel for cattle, and a chicken run.

The DA would also use the committee's visit to Nkandla on Wednesday to show why Nhleko's report should be rejected.

The matter could not be kept a secret "because the people of South Africa deserve to know, because it was the taxpayer's money spent there. You can't deem a swimming pool a security feature," Maimane said.

"You can't make that sort of argument. So, on the basis of that irrationality and that unconstitutionality, we argue that we reject the report, and we argue that this can't be a secret."

Two hours at Nkandla

DA federal chairperson James Selfe said while it would take the committee three hours to get to Nkandla, the visit on Wednesday was only scheduled to last two hours.

"Two hours is not enough and it's a point we will be arguing at the committee on Tuesday morning, because if we are going to go to all that trouble and expense, we should do it properly," he said.

Maimane said he would also insist on tweeting during the visit.

"I think we have to find some smart people who will be able to convince us that a swimming pool is a fire pool," he said.

"The question is about liability and the fundamentals are here... it is clear to us that the president unduly befitted and that nobody can debate that."

"President [Nelson] Mandela's upgrades didn't cost this much, president [Thabo] Mbeki's upgrades did not cost that much....and on site we will be able to prove that."

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  mmusi maimane  |  jacob zuma  |  james selfe  |  nkandla upgrade  |  government spending  |  politics

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