Minister passes Nkandla buck back to Parliament

2014-08-27 00:00

POLICE Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko is not busy determining if President Jacob Zuma must repay some of the taxpayers’ money spent on his private estate at Nkandla.

Instead, Nhleko yesterday told sister paper Beeld he will not decide anything on the Nkandla matter before Parliament had finished its own process on the issue.

“The report of the president is now in the hands of Parliament … Only when Parliament has finished its process and accepts a resolution on the report, will I look at it in terms of the police portfolio.”

Zuma handed his written reaction on the Nkandla report to Parliament two weeks ago.

Despite the Public Protector (PP) recommending in her report on ­Nkandla that he must pay a portion of the costs to establish security measures, Zuma said in his answer that the Police minister should determine whether he is liable to pay back any of the R246 million spent on his estate, which is also a national key point.

The National Assembly last week decided to appoint a new ad hoc committee on the Nkandla issue.

The committee’s deadline is October 24.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela wrote to the president last week to inform him his order to the Police minister to decide on his liability does not correlate with any law.

In her letter she cautioned him that he was second-guessing her recommendations that he should repay part of the money spent on features unrelated to security, such as a swimming pool, cattle kraal, amphitheatre, and visitors’ centre.

Madonsela wrote in her letter: “I am concerned that the decision you have made regarding the Police minister gives him power he does not have under law, which is to review my decision taken in pursuit of the powers of administrative scrutiny I am given … by the Constitution.”

She insisted Zuma should react to her report and her recommendations.

This letter has elicited an attack on her office on all fronts of the ANC, which yesterday spilled over into Parliament.

Naledi Pandor, senior ANC member and Science and Technology minister, criticised the PP and the opposition parties supporting her.

DA chief whip John Steenhuisen referred to “a worrying trend to hold the public protector in contempt”.

Pandor hit back, saying the ANC respected the Constitution, but if any chapter nine institution is used for a public witch hunt, the ANC has the right to react.

She said Madonsela could not hide behind the Constitution when she criticised Zuma.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete earlier had to cut short a session by an ANC MP who “referred on behalf of the ANC caucus” to the PP’s contempt of Parliament.

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