Nkandla: Name-dropping is common if you want to get things done, says Nhleko

2015-07-29 17:01
Nathi Nhleko

Nathi Nhleko

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Police Minister Nathi Nhleko has dismissed correspondence that claims that President Jacob Zuma gave the instruction for police housing to be converted as part of the president’s household. 

Nhleko revealed that Senior Superintendent Frans Linde had admitted to the Special Investigating Unit, under oath during its investigations, that he misrepresented the president and had dropped Zuma’s name to fast-track the project. 

Nhleko said name-dropping was a common trend in the public service by officials who wanted to get things done. 

The police minister told the parliamentary committee this morning that it was “puzzling” why a head of state would give such an instruction to a junior official of the state when there were senior officials who had a direct link with the president. 

“To suggest that the president will step (sic) to someone, who is at a deputy director level, is highly improbable,” said Nhleko. 
This opened the gate for opposition MPs to propose that the committee invite Linde to come and give his side of the story. 

Freedom Front Plus MP Corné Mulder said that, in the interest of the audi alteram partem principle (a Latin phrase meaning “let the other side be heard as well”), it would be prudent for the parliamentary committee to call Linde to give his side. 

“I think we should call Mr Linde ... we can’t hang this one and hang that one without hearing their side,” he said. 

Democratic Alliance MP Glynnis Breytenbach also sought to disagree with Nhleko that a superintendent was a junior official. 

“That is a senior rank in the South African police,” she said. 

Nhleko had also sought to clarify that the 21 two-bedroom houses that were built to accommodate the police and South African national defence force members did not cost R135.2 million on their own, but that the figure covered the helipad and the clinic built outside Zuma’s home. 

Despite Nhleko’s appearance before the committee for an entire day last week, opposition MPs still spent hours grilling him about the Nkandla project today. 

Some of the questions or requests included: 
» Information on the names, qualifications and reports of the “experts” he relied on in coming to his conclusions. 
» On whose land was Zuma’s home and the extra constructions at Nkandla built? 
» Did Zuma have a bond and whether one could get a bond on land belonging to the Ingonyama Trust? The trust manages tribal land on behalf of communities in KwaZulu-Natal. 
The committee was still to hear from Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi on the implementation of recommendations of the various reports later this afternoon.

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