Malema regrets helping ‘destroy’ Scorpions

2014-09-26 00:00

PARLIAMENT — Julius Malema says he regrets helping the ANC “destroy” the Scorpions to protect President Jacob Zuma.

The EFF leader made the remark at yesterday’s sitting of Parliament’s ad hoc committee on the Nkandla issue.

He accused the ANC of trying to do the same thing to the public protector.

“The remarks of the [ANC members] on the powers of the public protector really hurt, they remind some of us of the time we participated in the destruction of the Scorpions,” Malema told ANC members of the committee yesterday.

“We were forced to believe that the Scorpions were a problem and you are doing it again. We regret those choices, because we fought the most praiseworthy institution that was fighting corruption and we lived to regret it.”

Malema’s commentary followed remarks by ANC committee members about Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on the security improvements at Zuma’s private Nkandla estate.

The committee began considering Madonsela’s report, as well as those compiled by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and an interministerial task team, and Zuma’s reaction to them.

ANC member Mathole Motsheka warned the public protector could not be the “investigating officer, prosecutor, judge and sheriff”.

“To say that people that don’t agree with the public protector should go to court is to tell only a half-truth,” he said.

Several legal experts have said in the past month that only a court could review Madonsela’s report, which found that Zuma had violated the code of conduct for executive members and gained material benefit from the improvements. She recommended that he should be obliged to repay a portion of the R246 million cost of the upgrades.

Malema showed yesterday that his deep knowledge of the ANC could be used to hit the party where it hurts most.

“Every time President Jacob Zuma is in trouble with an institution, then that institution must be wiped out,” he said.

He said it pained him that he took part in the battles around the Scorpions.

He referred to the period when he, as ANC Youth League president, still supported Zuma. The ANC decided at its 2009 conference to disband the Scorpions, which had investigated corruption charges against Zuma.

It appeared last night that ANC members of the committee were eager to see heads roll, but not that of Zuma.

Motshekga used a charge of “name-dropping” to defend Zuma against the suggestions of opposition members that the president should have known what was going on in “his backyard”.

The allegation was based on a passage in Madonsela’s report that quoted an official as saying that normal procedures were set aside because there had been a lot of pressure from above to finish the Nkandla project in order to keep the principal happy.

“How can we use a name dropper as proof,” Motshekga asked.

That was the same excuse given by the government when a jet chartered by the Gupta family, friends of Zuma, was allowed to land at the Waterkloof airforce base bringing guests to a family wedding.

At the time, it was said that references to “Number One” (Zuma) in that scandal were just name dropping by defence force officers and that Zuma knew nothing about it.

ANC MPs also rejected a proposal by DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane, an opposition member of the ad hoc committee, that Zuma should be called to appear before it.

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