Parliament’s ad hoc committee on Nkandla steams ahead

By Drum Digital
30 September 2014

arliament’s ad hoc committee on Nkandla is going ahead with its work despite the opposition’s decision to boycott it.

P Opposition parties walked out last week after disagreements over whether or not the committee should summon President Jacob Zuma to appear before it to answer questions about the R246 million state upgrade of his private residence. The opposition had also wanted Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on Nkandla to be given precedence over those of the Special Investigating Unit and inter-ministerial committee. One of Madonsela’s recommendations was that Zuma should pay back a reasonable portion of the non-security costs. It spent most of the morning listening to a presentation by two Parliamentary content advisers about the commonalities and differences between the Nkandla reports.

  ANC MPs Mathole Motshekga and Dorries Dlakude questioned Madonsela’s findings on the Nkandla during the deliberations. Motshekga wanted to know how Zuma could be blamed for the non-security upgrades like the building of the chicken run when he did not authorise them.
“It doesn't seem that the president has the power to veto. Decisions aren't taken by him. How does one attribute guilt?” he asked.
Dlakude raised similar concerns, suggesting that Zuma could not be expected to foot the bill for items like the tuck-shop and the cattle kraal as he did not ask government security experts to remove them. The Democratic Alliance has criticised the committee, saying it wouldn’t participate in a process that undermined the Constitution. “Without the participation of the Opposition, the ANC’s Luthuli House deployees will continue to play judge and jury in a process which will shield the President from any form of accountability. The ANC has been intent from day-one of the Nkandla Committee on making not a single concession, or reaching a single agreement, other than to shield President Zuma,” said DA Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said the committee had been reduced to a “study group of the ANC”.

“The departure of opposition parties must translate to the reality that…the committee no longer enjoys of Parliament’s status,” he said.

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