ANC responds to Nkandla report - as it happened

2014-03-20 09:27
(Giordano Stolley, Sapa)

(Giordano Stolley, Sapa)

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President Jacob Zuma’s party is set to respond to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s fairly damning report concerning the upgrades at Nkandla.

11:35 - So that's where we'll end updates. Stay on News24 though as we continue to bring you the latest on the Nkandla saga. 

11:32 - And so they conclude the media conference. They've asked the media to wait for the ANC Youth League but it looks as if most are leaving the room.

11:30 - ANC  history doesn't start with Mandela and end with Mandela. It is a terrible thing to say calibre of ANC leaders isn't like Mandela, says Mantashe.

11:27 - Mkhize: The report has only been out a day and there aren't assumptions we can make about people being disciplined internally.

Meanwhile... "half the DA is here (in Nkandla). They must be laying several hundred charges. Even more media types," says City Press's Paddy Harper.

- Are you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts or send us your photos

11:25 - Madonsela tells Tlhabi: "In Owell's Animal Farm, at least they changed the rules to allow the rot. This time they are saying 'ignore the rules'". 

11:24 - Meanwhile, EFF leader Julius Malema is expected to open a case against President Zuma at the Sunnyside police station today, tweets EWN's Barry Bateman.

11:22 - We're actually trying to fix our democracy as we go along, says Mkhize.So mistakes (such as er, spending huge amounts of money on a homestead) are to be expected.

Mkhize: "Madiba was in his own league. You're not ever going to have another Madiba. It's not fair to be comparing anyone with Madiba"

11:21 - The ANC's Zweli Mkhize says they are very upset about being "misled" about the firepool.

11:15 - Mthembu says this is the last round of questions because they have an "urgent matter" to deal with. No idea what it might be.

Madonsela has also told Tlhabi: "The IEC is not a court but tasked by the Constitution to fulfill its role. The PP is a constitutional body."

11:14 - By Madonsela's own admission, her final report was radically different to the (M&G) report that was leaked, says Duarte. One has a right and sometimes an obligation to differ with a view held by a Chapter 9 institution.

11:11 - The president could not have been involved in the assessment of the security needs at Nkandla, says Duarte. Implying that Zuma doesn't care is untrue. He fired two ministers, she says. "As one prosecutor says 'I put it to you', Duarte jokes (referencing the Pistorius trial).

11:10 - Mantashe says the DA laying charges is politicking ahead of the elections. It's sensationalism.

11:10 - Mantashe: When we censor individuals, we must do so on the merits of the process.

11:07 - "First of all, your way of questioning shows you have never run a (political) party or a club," Mantashe says.

11:06 - Mantashe was asked what the voters have been telling them, he says they have been saying houses, electricity, sanitation...

11:03 - Madonsela says: "It is surprising that the ANC is concerned about the timing of the report when it is THEY who asked that it be released before elections."

Mantashe: If there's a need for an apology, we will leave that to Zuma or ministers.

He doesn't think the scandal will take the ANC below 60% at the polls.

11:02 - Mantashe addressing the issue of Zuma being booed - he says "politicians get booed. We take it as normal".

He also says there's no reason for the ANC to apologise because it's not cited in the report.

11:00 - Mantashe: we are not calling a special NEC, we are having one next week to deal with normal work, we might mention it (it being Madonsela's long-awaited Nkandla report).

10:59 - PP's office not a court of law, it's a Chapter 9 institution, says Mantashe.

10:56 - Mantashe says question about which report weighs more - PP's or government's - is wrong. That question implies govt must stop doing its work until the PP's report, says Mantashe. 

But Madonsela has contradicted Mantashe's earlier statement: "There were not two institutions that investigated this. The minister's task team is not a state institution." 

10:54 - The PP said Zuma must pay for some upgrades, says Mantashe. The report was explicit that Zuma must sit with some ministers. Govt, not ANC, will determine what Zuma must pay. 

10:53 - Now a question about the fire/swimming pool (or "pit" as some apparently were told).

10:50 - The Guardian's David Smith has asked a hypothetical question: "If you were in Zuma's shoes, would you resign?"

Madonsela has also just told Redi Tlhabi: "Zuma did not willfully mislead Parliament but gave wrong information because he understood question to be referring to old structure."

10:48 - Reporter asks if it's not time for the ANC to recall Zuma or at the very least apologise. Another reporter asks if ANC thinks Zuma should apologise to the nation.

10:47 - "The officials who have gone public with inaccurate information must be censored," Mantashe said earlier.

Reporters are asking more questions.

10:46 - Meanwhile, Thuli Madonsela has just said on Redi Tlhabi's show: "Zuma may not have read menu but when food is delivered he should have asked what's in the food, is it affordable?"

10:45 - Mthembu says it's "disrespectful" to call ministers "little ministers".

10:44 - Duarte: A president who did not care wouldn't have changed two ministers and instructed investigations into the matter.

10:43 - Duarte says her and Mantashe want to see the so-called amphitheatre for themselves. She says neither she or Mantashe have been to Nkandla - they plan go and see for themselve.s

10:41 - Duarte: We can't say thatZuma did not do anything about this and just let things happen.

10:39 - Jessie Duarte now addressing media.

10:38 - "Madonsela said it took Zuma 9 months to respond. Mantashe claims delay of report is Public Protector's fault." - Alex Eliseevpoints out.

10:36 - Media laugh as Mantashe sighs before responding to question on e-tolls. He says they are a very small part of the road infrastructure.

10:35 - Mantashe says the responsibility of writing the report lies with the person responsible for the investigation.

10:33 - I will leave the demonisation of the president... I will leave that one, says Mantashe.

"Jissis. Barry Roux could take lessons from Gwede Mantashe on how to torture logic," says Phillip de Wet.

10:32 - Yep, just about everyone is a bit mystified as to what Mantashe is saying... "Gwede going deep into the obfuscation forest by comparing Zuma's private home to construction of power stations and stadiums," says EWN's Alex Eliseev.

10:31 - 

10:29 - Who told you that the president has not been called into account, and will not be called into account?  It's an assumption that the president won't be called to account. Mantashe tells reporters.

10:28 - "I dunno hey... Proteas have struggled to find a quality spinner for decades. Maybe they were just looking in the wrong places,"jokes eNCA's Nickolaus Bauer.

10:25 - Mantashe says ALL those found in violation (of laws) must be brought to book. If that includes Zuma, so be it.

Meanwhile: "Cops are running a stop and search on the road to Nxamalala ahead of the DA team arriving to lay charges," tweets City Press's Paddy Harper.

The opposition party said on Wednesday it would go to Nkandla SAPS to lay criminal charges over the upgrades.

10:23 - Some tough questions for Mantashe and the party...

10:22 - Mantashe says members of the media will be invited on a visit "to the project in Nkandla on an inspection, in the next week".

10:19 - Mantashe says the recommends a centralised tender process to adjudicate major tenders in all spheres of government to be put in place. 

10:17 - And that's Mantashe done. Now taking questions from reporters.

10:16 - Mantashe agrees: It's a swimming pool. He cites the commissioner of police as having lied by describing the swimming pool as a 'fire pool' and called for action against her.

10:15 - Mantashe: We reaffirm our commitment to fighting crime and corruption.

10:13 -  Funds that were acquired inappropriately must be recovered, says the ANC's secretary general (Mantashe). He says the role of the architect must be investigated further.

10:12 - Mantashe says it's undesirable to have two state institutions investigating the same matter. There is a fight for legitimacy.

10:11 - Mantashe has also criticised the comments by some political parties (such as the DA) and the call to impeach Zuma. But he says those pointed out in the report must face teh consequences.

10:10 - Mantashe says the biggest problem in that project was inflation of prices - which will be looked into.

10:10 - This "project" must be used as an example to look into all major projects, says Mantashe. 

10:09 - Both reports raise serious irregularities, says Mantashe. "Those who fail in the conduct in their duties should face appropriate consequences."

10:08 - Mantashe says both reports agree there was no political interference.

10:07 - Mantashe says both reports came to the same conclusions in numerous areas.

one of these was that the state did not spend any money on private dwellings at Nkandla. The president did not mislead Parliament.

10:06 - Mantashe: We won't ignore or undermine this report. This is not the intention of the ANC.

10:03 - Gwede Mantashe addresses media."We are relieved the Public Protector's report has finally been released, but timing remains a concern."

10:02 - Wow. They're starting on time. Party spokesperson JacksonMthembu is addressing the media and joking about his watch saying 10:02.

9:58 - "We're about 10 minutes away from the ANC's presser onNkandla, postponed from yesterday. Should be interesting, if frustrating," reckons Mail & Guardian reporter Phillip de Wet.

9:52 - As expected, the scandal is dominating headlines around the country. Read more here.

9:46 - The ANC looks set to take a hit from voters angry at perceived corruption under Zuma and the country's shoddy public services.

The ANC, which has staunchly supported Zuma during previous corruption and personal imbroglios, cancelled a scheduled news conference, saying it needed more time to study Madonsela's findings. It will give its response at 10:00 on Thursday.

"This is negative for the ANC," said Nic Borain, an independent political analyst.

"They will lose votes as a result of this."

9:24 - The government's task team report and Madonsela's report are incomparable, the protector's office tweeted this morning. 

Madonsela's investigation was a legally-sanctioned and independent process.

"The Govt Task Team Investigation was a process by junior officials that report to those that asked them to investigate," says the PP's office.

"The Government Task Team was not a legal body and its investigation was an internal process. It also had a narrower scope.

"[Madonsela's report] therefore overrides that of the government task team."

Read more on:    anc  |  jacob zuma  |  gwede mantashe  |  thuli madonsela  |  nkandla upgrade

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