Zuma’s delays ‘mock process’

2014-07-21 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Nkandla is not about poor administration but a lack of political accountability, said political commentator Ralph Mathekga.

He was reacting to the news that 13 officials at Public Works will be charged internally for maladministration following the R246 million “security improvements” to the private estate of President Jacob Zuma at Nkandla.

After the Public Protector (PP) released her Nkandla reportin March , the ANC admitted costs for the improvements at Zuma’s estate had irregularly escalated, but said the president had no hand in it.

The PP, however, found Zuma and his family would materially benefit from the improvements.

Phillip Masilo, a legal adviser to Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi, yesterday said the officials who had been charged had worked on the acquisition process.

He said charges have been served on all the accused and the process will be independent.

He said the preliminary hearings could be finished by mid-August, but no lawyers will be involved, adding the cases will not take long.

He did not want to expand on possible disciplinary procedures.

Chairperson of the DA’s federal executive, James Selfe, welcomed the disciplinary steps, but said junior officials cannot be made the scapegoats, adding the Nkandla issue will remain contentious as long as those in public positions avoid accountability.

Selfe said everyone involved had to be charged.

He said politicians who are involved in the Nkandla scandal will only be held accountable when Zuma provided Parliament with answers and actions in his response to the recommendations of the PP.

The deadline for this response was Thursday, but Zuma missed it as the DA predicted he would.

Selfe said the president’s habitual delaying tactics made a mockery of the charges against the junior officials.

He said the DA will this week make an announcement on the ad hoc committee over the PP’s Nkandla report.

Mathekga said he doesn’t think disciplinary steps against Public Works staff would be enough to repair the public’s confidence in the department.

“There is clearly no political accountability.”

He said there had been no coherent government answer to the Nkandla issue, adding Zuma had to answer to Parliament.

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