Chief whip Sizani defends Zuma’s sidestep on Nkandla

2014-08-19 00:00

ANC chief whip Stone Sizani has rubbished reports that President Jacob Zuma had failed to give a “comprehensive” response to the public protector’s findings on security upgrades at his Nkandla private residence.

Defending the president amid public protector Thuli Madonsela’s comment that the president had failed to deal directly with her findings in his report to Parliament, Sizani said he was satisfied that Zuma had responded to “to all important reports, including the report of the public protector”.

In a statement, Sizani said that the parliamentary process should now be allowed to take its course. “We are confident that in processing the matter, the opinions of various role players, including those of the public protector, would be formally sought by Parliament. This process should therefore be respected.”

Sizani said that the president was correct to consider all the reports dealing with the security upgrades. “It would have been amiss for the president to confine himself to a single report at the expense of the rest.”

In his response, Zuma referred to three reports — from the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI), the public Protector and Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

Asked to respond to Madonsela’s plan of action, spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said she would issue a public statement later this week.

Segalwe said that Madonsela’s comment emanated from Zuma’s response in which he made the “confusing” comment that his report was in fact not a “critique” of the reports.

Zuma, however, responded at the weekend that he had responded to the public protector. Zuma’s report has been submitted to the Speaker, Baleka Mbete, and the National Assembly is set to deal with the matter when it reconvenes for the start of the second session today.

As soon as Mbete puts Zuma’s reply on the agenda, a motion is likely to be made for an ad hoc committee to be established.

The R246 million of public money spent on Zuma’s private home is also set to come under scrutiny when Zuma answers oral questions from opposition MPs in the house on Thursday.

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