Steven Tau
3 minute read
2 Apr 2014
6:00 am

D-Day for JZ’s response on Thuli’s Nkandla report today

Steven Tau

The deadline for President Jacob Zuma to submit to Parliament his response to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's damning report on security upgrades at his private residence at Nkandla is today.

FILE PICTURE: President Jacob Zuma responds to his political rivals in Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday, 20 February 2014 following his State-of-the-Nation address. Picture: GCIS/SAPA

Speculation was rife that Zuma will not take any responsibility for the wasteful use of R246 million of public money on dubious security upgrades that include a chicken run, swimming pool and cattle kraal. He is expected to blame government officials for the debacle. 

Yesterday presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said Zuma would submit the report and his comments in writing to Parliament.

Maharaj said: “The Ethics Act of 1998 of South Africa states that when the Public Protector investigates a complaint against you, be it cabinet or the president, the president must within a reasonable time but not later than 14 days after receiving her report, submit a copy of the report and any comment thereon together with the report on any action taken or to be taken to the National Assembly.”

Although the DA has called for Zuma’s impeachment, it is unlikely Parliamentwill  be reconstituted to deal with the Nkandla matter.

MPs are presently busy with constituency work ahead of the general election next month. Parliamentary committee meetings will only resume once the elections have been concluded and the fifth Parliament is established.

The DA’s Parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko said: “President Zuma cannot claim ignorance in this matter. It is misleading and disingenuous, and Parliament – as the arm of the state which elected him to high office – now has a duty to investigate fully whether he misled the House and broke the law, and consequently, whether he should be removed from office. The Speaker of the National Assembly (Max Sisulu) must initiate proceedings for my motion to impeach President Zuma as a matter of urgency.”

She said the DA would set out further evidence for why Zuma “should be impeached and compelled to repay the money he owes the people of South Africa”.

Mazibuko said she has new evidence of how President Zuma may have deliberately misled Parliament.

In her report , released two weeks ago, the Public Protector found that former public works minister Geoff Doidge and police Minister Nathi Mthethwa could have provided better leadership on the extent and cost of the project and that this failure amounted to improper conduct and maladministration.

Madonsela also found that while Zuma’s conduct “could accordingly be legitimately construed as misleading Parliament, it appears to have been a bona fide mistake”. She also recommended that he repay part of the money spent on upgrades that earned his architect Minenhle Makhanya as much as R16 million.

Political analyst Elvis Masoga said Zuma was likely to complain to Parliament that his constitutional integrity as president had been undermined by the Public Protctor’s report.

Masoga said the report was contradictory. “Thuli Madonsela (the Public Protector) admitted that there was no evidence suggesting of irregularity and maladministration on the part of the president, but then the report goes on to say he acted wrongly.”

He said the report fails to pinpoint exactly which law and or policy has Zuma contravened. Media reports earlier this week quoted Zuma as saying he would not repay part of the R246 million spent on upgrades on his Nkandla home as he did not ask for them.