Give ANC processes on Nkandla a chance, urges Gwede Mantashe

2014-03-31 15:23

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The ruling ANC has put some distance for now between itself and the Public Protector’s damning report on President Jacob Zuma’s private Nkandla home.

Briefing reporters in Johannesburg today, party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe consistently declined to give direct replies to questions on the Nkandla issue.

He said there were “processes that need to be given a chance”.

Mantashe was giving feedback on an ANC national executive committee (NEC) in Cape Town at the weekend.

He said the NEC was satisfied with work undertaken on the matter by officials and the party’s national working committee.

“It further noted that there are processes that need to be given a chance, like the pending report of the president expected in due course and progress on the work of the Special [Investigating] Unit.”

Zuma has directed the unit to investigate the security upgrades.

In her report on the security upgrades done at President Jacob Zuma’s private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal titled Secure in Comfort, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that Zuma had unduly benefited from the improvements.

These included a cattle kraal and fire pool, built with state money. She also stated in the report that he should refund a portion of the R246 million cost.

Today, it was reported that Zuma told a crowd in Gugulethu in Cape Town he would not repay the money because he did not ask for the upgrades. He placed the blame on government officials.

“They did this without telling me,” he told ANN7.

“So why should I pay for something I did not ask for?”

Mantashe said today the NEC had made no recommendations about the Nkandla report.

“We recommend nothing. There are reports that deal with the matter. The ANC will monitor the implementation of the report. That report [Madonsela’s] must be attended to,” he said.

“Anyone who benefited fraudulently or wrongfully must be pursued.”

He said the fact that the report was discussed did not indicate whether the NEC did not favour Madonsela’s report over other reports.

Mantashe said given the deadline for Zuma to respond to Parliament was on Wednesday, the ANC did not want to interfere in a process that had not run its course.

Turning to other issues, Mantashe said public discourse about corruption in the country indicated society held high standards on the matter.

“What we have observed in the public discourse are the high levels of discussion on corruption, a clear reflection that we pitched our standards as a country high, and we should correctly continue to do so.”

Mantashe said the meeting also dealt with the state of the organisation, a report on elections and international issues.

He said the NEC was concerned over the international trend of regime-change methods which undermined democracy.

“Elected governments are undermined and dislodged in many regions, with Ukraine being the latest and Venezuela being threatened as well,” Mantashe said.

“We have directed our government to deal with these disturbing trends in international forums, including the UN and African Union [AU].”

Mantashe said any African government that took power through unconstitutional methods was acting against the AU’s Constitution.

“SA as a member of the AU supports its decision ... to suspend Egypt from participating in its activism.” On jobs, Mantashe said in-depth research would be commissioned to look into the best way of dealing with jobs that did not require high-level skills, and those that were usually taken by foreign nationals.

“Equally, such an in-depth research should also look into small trading impact by foreign nationals.”

He said once the research had been compiled, the immigration policy would then be refined.

» This article was updated after first published.

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