ANC MP won’t let Madonsela address Nkandla committee ‘because of retweet’

2015-07-30 07:52
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Lerato Maduna/Foto24

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Lerato Maduna/Foto24

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Retweeting a critical article by a constitutional expert is one of the reasons Public Protector Thuli Madonsela may never give voice to her Secure in Comfort report before Parliament.

ANC MP Mmamoloko Kubayi told the Nkandla committee meeting yesterday that she would not be part of the consultation between parties on why it was prudent to invite Madonsela.

Kubayi said after visiting President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home last week, she had called for Madonsela to appear before the committee but she has since changed her mind because Madonsela retweeted an article by Professor Pierre de Vos questioning the legal standing of the Nkandla committee.

Kubayi said that by retweeting De Vos’ article, Madonsela proved that she held similar views about the existence of the ad hoc committee

“On that basis, chair, I will not sit here and listen to her,” she concluded.

The final decision on whether Madonsela would be invited to appear before the committee will be made today.

On several occasions during yesterday’s meeting where the ministers of police and public works, Nathi Nhleko and Thulas Nxesi, appeared before the committee, ANC MPs raised clarity-seeking questions arising from Madonsela’s report.

They also sought to water down Madonsela’s findings, including a reference to an amphitheatre in her report. ANC MPs argued it was a retaining wall and not an entertainment area.

A number of opposition MPs from the Democratic Alliance, Inkatha Freedom Party, the Pan Africanist Congress and the African Christian Democratic Party argued that it did not make any sense for the committee not to invite Madonsela to speak about her report because it had allowed Nhleko to speak about his.

While the deputy chief whip of the ANC, Doris Dlakude, needed convincing on why Madonsela should be called in, her comrade Kubayi opposed Madonsela’s invitation outright.

Dlakude said she was not closing the door on the possibility of Madonsela addressing the committee “since honourable members say we should call the Public Protector to come and present”.

She suggested that the members consult each other outside the committee to understand why the Public Protector had to be called “because we are not conducting an investigation”.

Dlakude said Zuma’s private architect, Minenhle Makhanya, could not be called in either because he was facing criminal charges before a court.

“There is no way that Makhanya can be called because the matter is before the court. That would be interfering with the court,” said Dlakude.

The special investigative unit is suing Makhanya for R155 million in relation to the Nkandla project.

Another ANC MP who opposed Madonsela’s appeareance was Thandi Mahambehlala, who said the Public Protector didn't submit her report to Parliament because she was governing herself.

“She is supreme!” declared Mahambehlala while decrying Madonsela for presenting her report to the media and not to Parliament.

But Madonsela did send her report to Zuma with a request for him to respond to Parliament within 14 days of receiving it, stating the action he was going to take.

According to the Executive Members’ Ethics Act – under which Madonsela investigated the Nkandla matter – the Public Protector had to submit her report to the president within 30 days of drafting it and the president in turn had to inform Parliament about what action he would take within 14 days.

The act stated that the president should attach the Public Protector’s report to his report for Parliament.

The Nkandla committee meets again this afternoon. It has to report back to the National Assembly by August 7.

Read more on:    thuli ­madonsela  |  nkandla
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