“This new evidence suggests that President Zuma may have deliberately misled Parliament, and violated the Constitution and the law,” said the Democratic Alliance’s leader in Parliament Lindiwe Mazibuko.
“This warrants a full parliamentary investigation, which is specifically mandated by my motion to impeach President Zuma.”
Mazibuko requested Parliament on March 20 to establish an ad hoc committee and the initiation of impeachment proceedings against Zuma.
Her request followed the tabling of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on upgrades to the president’s Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal, residence.
Mazibuko said on Monday that while the party respected Madonsela’s authority, there were a number of statements Zuma made to Parliament that were not resolved or which she did not consider in her final report.
The first was Zuma’s response to Mazibuko’s oral question on his Nkandla homestead in November 2012, in which he stated he was still paying a bond on the first phase of his home.
Madonsela noted in her report that she sent a letter to Zuma requesting clarity on the bond and proof thereof.
“President Zuma declined the opportunity to respond to the allegation and he refused her access to his bond documents, despite her attempts to get this information,” Mazibuko said.
“It must be asked why, if he had nothing to hide, he did not fully cooperate with this request?”
She said that Madonsela could not make a finding because of the lack of information and thus left uncertainty on Zuma’s innocence.
The party believed the special ad hoc committee would have the power to subpoena this document in its investigation and expect a full explanation from Zuma.
Mazibuko sent her next oral question to Zuma on March 20 last year, asking whether he was informed of upgrades to his home.
His response acknowledged that he was fully aware of the difference between his involvement in personal renovations to his home and those organised by the State.
Mazibuko said Zuma’s response on the State renovations made a very clear impression that he was not told of specific project details, that relevant officials handled and decided upon the matter, and that he was merely informed that there needed to be improvements.
“There is, however, to the contrary, very clear evidence provided in the Public Protector’s report that the president not only had detailed knowledge, but that he was intricately involved.
“Furthermore, the involvement of [architect] Mr Makhanya, and his relationship and numerous meetings with him over the upgrade, is incontrovertible evidence against his statement that he did not know ‘what would be done by whom and at what cost’.”
Mazibuko said Zuma had yet to answer key questions sent to him by Madonsela, which “creates a further suspicion around his intentions”.
These questions included whether he or the presidency asked that security measures be installed at his private residence, whether he was informed at any stage of the cost of the proposed measures and whether a notice declaring his private residence a national key point was served on him.
Madonsela had also wanted to know whether he was shown the architect’s designs of the project, whether he was consulted about the relocation of households around Nkandla and whether he asked about the cost of the project at any stage.
“The DA contends that there is enough prima facie evidence, as outlined above, to warrant a full investigation into both the November 2012 and March 2013 replies.”
Mazibuko further contended that in failing to respond to Madonsela’s questions and questioning her authority to question him, Zuma had violated the Public Protector’s Act.
“What is crystal clear… is that President Zuma treated the investigation with disdain, did not fully cooperate with it, blatantly ignored correspondence from a Chapter Nine institution, and failed to provide all the information requested of him.”
She said his “belligerent attitude and non-compliance” may also constitute a violation of the Constitution because he did not do everything possible to assist Madonsela.
The party said it was concerned that Sisulu had yet to respond to a request for an urgent meeting and a clear time frame for when he would decide on the party’s request.
“I will accordingly send this new evidence to his office and again request feedback from him as a matter of urgency,” Mazibuko said.