Sisulu under pressure

2014-04-02 00:00

CAPE TOWN — A loyal ANC member must decide tomorrow what must be done with the Nkandla report.

Max Sisulu (68), speaker of the National Assembly (NA), will be the only official of any statutory body who have to decide how the Public Protector’s (PP) report about the R246 million in public funds spent on improving President Jacob Zuma’s private estate at Nkandla, must be handled.

In terms of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act, Zuma must submit before midnight tonight a copy of the PP’s Nkandla report with his written comments and recommended actions to the office of the Speaker.

Then the future of the report will be in Sisulu’s hands.

Members of Parliament and people in Sisulu’s inner circle said he was under enormous pressure to cause the minimum embarrassment for the ruling party and for Zuma this close to the election.

Everyone, opposition members included, said Sisulu is a man with integrity, but that he now had to take a very difficult decision.

“He is very fair and has only shown integrity.

“He has in the last five years often struggled with political decisions when it goes against what he deemed just,” said a confidant who wanted to remain anonymous.

“But at the end, he is an ANC cadre and I cannot see how he will go against the ANC, not with this one. It is just too big.”

A senior ANC MP said Sisulu is a very loyal and disciplined party member and will treat the Nkandla debacle as was necessary to protect the ANC’s reputation.

Sisulu is number 18 on the ANC’s national list and all indications are that he is interested in serving another term as speaker.

Because he relies on the ANC to re-elect him, he will be walking on eggshells, an ANC MP said.

Sister paper Beeld has learnt it will take him two or three days to officially table the report in the assembly.

Then he will meet with members of opposition parties to consult them on how to handle the report.

He will then have a couple of options. He can convene the Assembly for a special session ahead of he election to debate the report, or appoint an ad hoc committee to handle the report.

He can also decide not to call a special session.

Even is there is a special session, Zuma cannot be forced to attend it, because he is not a member of Parliament.

Informed sources yesterday agreed that there is not enough time for Parliament or an ad hoc committee to finalise any action on the report ahead of the election on May 7.

Sisulu’s spokesperson Luzuko Jacobs said all parliamentary committees and uncompleted matters expire on the evening before the national election.

This means the new parliament will be under no obligation to handle the Nkandla report.

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