Law adviser: State has no case against Zuma

2014-11-07 07:22

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - The state will not be able to build a claim against President Jacob Zuma on the basis that he benefited unduly from the R246m revamp of his Nkandla home, a parliamentary law adviser said on Thursday.

Ntuthuzelo Vanara told Parliament's ad hoc committee drafting a report on the Nkandla controversy that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's finding that Zuma derived undue benefit from the so-called security upgrades to his house was potentially flawed.

He said Madonsela was, by her own admission, not a security expert and reached her conclusion that some of the improvements - which included a swimming pool and helicopter landing pad - were not related to security by looking at a general police list of security steps rather than at a Cabinet memorandum on safety for heads of state.

"So anything that is not in this list and she does not get a satisfactory explanation for, she will then come to a view that it is not a security feature," he said.

Vanara added: "It is a bit of a challenge for myself when the person making these calls is not a security expert.

Madonsela should have consulted the Cabinet memorandum on securing the homes of heads of state, and then brought in experts to testify whether what was done at Nkandla was in line with this.

"Security experts as per the memo are not solicited to conduct the necessary security analysis and to identify what then would qualify as security and what would qualify as non-security."

'Madonsela won't be a helpful witness'

He concluded that it would therefore be difficult to prove a case against the president and that Madonsela would not be a particularly helpful witness.

"I respectfully submit that it will be very difficult proving undue enrichment on a balance of probabilities."

He added that he believed the finding of undue benefit was "premature" because a court would need proof that the defendant had been enriched.

The committee is considering Madonsela's report as well as that of the Special Investigating Unit - which found that Zuma had been enriched because the value of his property has been enhanced - and another by a ministerial task team.

The committee has made it clear that it will reject Madonsela's recommendation that Zuma be made to repay the state for luxuries added to his home with taxpayers' money.

The president has written to the public protector that he does not consider himself compelled to "rubber stamp" her findings, and the ruling party has found succour for this view in a ruling by the Western Cape High Court last month.

In his judgment in a case brought by the Democratic Alliance over SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s appointment, Judge Ashton Schippers said that remedial action ordered by the public protector was not binding on persons and organs of state.

But he went on to add that her findings were not mere recommendations that organs of state could reject without rational reasons.

ANC MP Mathole Motshekga said on Thursday the committee was acting in line with the judgment because it was applying its mind to her report and giving cogent reasons for disagreeing.

The draft report before the committee - which consists only of ANC members after the opposition withdrew in protest - absolves Zuma from any responsibility for the flouting of public finance rules at Nkandla but calls for officials to be brought to book.

A clause drafted on Thursday commends Zuma's swift response to reports of misspending and notes that it was a sign of government's commitment to fighting corruption.

The committee is meant to finalise the report next week before submitting it to the National Assembly.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  thuli madonsela  |  nkandla upgrade

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.