Zuma: I never dodged Nkandla questions

2015-03-11 21:31

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President Jacob Zuma has vehemently denied dodging questions about the Nkandla matter saying that he had always been available to address the issue in Parliament.

Zuma today returned to the National Assembly to answer oral questions for the first time since August 21 when the question and answer session was cut short due to the Economic Freedom Fighters MPs chanting “pay back the money” at him when he failed to answer Julius Malema’s question about the payment of the money spent on non-security upgrades at Nkandla.

Zuma was in charge. He confronted his opponents and their questions and while he did not give any new answers, he defended himself and his decisions and actions.

Since the August 21 aborted session, opposition MPs have made a meal of how Zuma needed to return to Parliament and “stop dodging” their questions.

Zuma sought to put the issue to rest. He said there was never an occasion where he was required to give a commitment to Parliament on when he would appear to answer question until the August 21 sitting.

He said he had always availed himself whenever Parliament called on him to do so.

He told how on August 21, he was interrupted while standing on the podium answering questions despite “having never refused, having not dodged to answer the questions in Parliament as you have been saying”.

“Up to that day, I’ve never, standing here and I answered two of the six questions. On the third one I answered the EFF many times, but they wanted the answer they wanted and not what I was answering. They said they are not leaving until the question is answered.

“I was not able to proceed with the answers. EFF MPs made impossible for me to answer question,” said Zuma, also speaking about the disciplinary process the EFF underwent.

At this point EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi rose on a point of order, citing the sub judice rule and saying Zuma should not discuss a matter which is in front of the courts.

When Speaker Baleka Mbete ordered Zuma several times to take his seat to allow Ndlozi to make his point, an angry Zuma ignored her and continued with his response in which he was criticising the EFF’s previous conduct.

“They didn’t act honourable to me. They stopped me from answering questions. What they have been saying in the public that the president is dodging answering the question is not true,” said Zuma in a raised voice.

“Where do you get the fact that I have not answered the question?

“Why did you say I dodge questions? I want that issue to be clear. I’ve never dodged a question in this Parliament,” he continued to loud applause from the ANC benches.

Zuma later explained and apologised saying he did not hear Mbete’s instruction for him to take his seat, because of the noise levels.

Mbete also sought to defend Zuma for ignoring her, saying he was “in full flight” in his response and couldn’t have possibly heard her.

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