Parliament yesterday confirmed it had received “comments” from Zuma on Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report into upgrades at his Nkandla homestead.
“President Jacob Zuma today submitted to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Max Sisulu, his comments on the report of the Public Protector… and a copy of her report on the security upgrades at his Nkandla residence,” Parliament said in a statement.
Last night presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said the president’s submission would be published in Parliament’s Announcement, Tablings and Committee Reports today for the public to see.
DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said Zuma was playing games with the Parliament that elected him, as well as the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.
This was after the president had said he would “submit a full report upon the completion of investigations by three state institutions”, including the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
“His decision to wait for the Special Investigating Unit investigation to be finalised before reporting back to Parliament on what steps he will take – given the very clear recommendations set out in the Public Protector’s report – is nothing more than a delaying tactic.”
She said his decision to wait for the SIU report implied a lack of trust in Chapter 9 institutions.
“The truth is that President Zuma is running away from accountability. This effectively means that an elected head of state is openly playing games with the Parliament which elected him; as well as the country’s Public Protector, who is constitutionally empowered to take remedial action against him.
“We won’t let this happen without a fight. We will continue to push and push on with our impeachment motion and seek legal advice on what steps need to be taken to force him to abide by these recommendations.”
Freedom Front Plus Chief Whip Corne Mulder accused Zuma of avoiding his responsibilities before general elections on May 7.
“If Zuma is so innocent and ignorant about the Nkandla issue as he alleges, he now had the ideal opportunity to prove his innocence in Parliament. He chooses not to do it,” Mulder said.
“It is unthinkable that South Africans will be going to the ballot boxes on 7 May with this cloud hanging over the head of the president and the number one candidate of the ANC.”
United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said: “Zuma needs to respond and tell the public whether he will pay the money or not.”
Zuma’s spokesperson Mac Maharaj confirmed he made a submission to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Max Sisulu, yesterday. He said the president would provide Parliament with a “further report on the decisive executive interventions” that he would consider to be appropriate.
“The president has decided that he will give full and proper consideration to all matters before him and, upon receipt of the SIU report, will provide Parliament with a further report,” Maharaj said.
He said the other two institutions probing the matter were the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster as well as the office of the public protector.
Cope MP Dennis Bloem said Zuma showed a total disrespect for the office of the protector.
“We are very much disappointed with his behaviour. We wonder how he expects the members of the public to respect the public protector’s office if he is not,” Bloem said.
SIU spokesperson Boy Ndala yesterday the unit’s investigation was “still ongoing” and would be completed at the end of next month.
Madonsela made a recommendation last month for Zuma to submit a report to Parliament by yesterday and pay back some of the money. This was after her investigation into the R246 million upgrades in his Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal homestead – that included an amphitheatre, visitors reception area, chicken coop, cattle kraal and a swimming pool – revealed that Zuma and his family unduly.
Zuma last weekend publicly said government officials had done the upgrades in his house without informing him and asked why he should pay for something he did not ask for. Madonsela could not be reached for comment.
– additional reporting from Sapa