3 months for Cabinet to decide on Nkandla

2014-11-11 18:14

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Cabinet will be given three months to determine whether the improvements to President Jacob Zuma’s private home at Nkandla constituted genuine security upgrades.

This is what Parliament’s ad hoc committee resolved today.

In its final report, the committee as expected rejected Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s conclusion that the president was unduly enriched because parts of the R246 million project – which included a swimming pool, cattle kraal and chicken run – bore no relation to security.

It accepted and incorporated into its report a parliamentary legal adviser’s view that this finding was “premature” as Madonsela was not a security expert.

She had arrived at it by checking what was constructed at Zuma’s homestead against a list of improvements approved by the police.

This was inadequate, as in terms of a Cabinet memorandum dating back a decade, the recommendation must be made in conjunction with the State Security Agency.

“The committee recommends that the matter of what constitutes security and non-security be referred back to Cabinet,” the report reads.

Committee chairperson Cedric Frolick said it was imperative that the committee set a time frame, because otherwise there was a risk that the process “could take two years, it could take three years”.

In terms of the recommendation, Cabinet must then report back to the National Assembly.

Cabinet must also pay attention, the report instructs, to a warning by the Special Investigating Unit, that security measures at Nkandla were still not adequate.

The final report apportions no blame to Zuma for the flouting of public finance management rules on the project but instead instructs him to act, where appropriate, against members of government who had failed to enforce these.

It rejects Madonsela’s finding that Zuma had breached the Executive Ethics Code by failing to prevent the waste of state funds, and instead commends the president for authorising the SIU probe, as well as another by an inter-ministerial task team.

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