Corruption charges laid against President Jacob Zuma over the so-called security upgrades at his Nkandla home by opposition parties have been centralised and are being investigated nationally, police spokesman Solomon Makgale said on Monday.
“The charges were laid by opposition party members at many police stations,” Makgale said.
“It was centralised at national office.”
Makgale would not elaborate on details of the investigation but suggested police had not brought official charges against Zuma.
“We are not even talking charges as yet,” said Makgale.
“Remember, all the political parties, they went into the charge offices and said they wanted us to investigate corruption. They handed the public protector’s report to the charge office.”
DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane laid several charges against Zuma in March at Nkandla police station relating to upgrades to Zuma’s private homestead in the KwaZulu-Natal hamlet.
In a written reply to a parliamentary question by Maimane on Friday, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko said the investigation was under way but declined to give further information, invoking the sub judice rule.
“The investigation in this regard has been initiated and no further information can be disclosed at this juncture as the matter is still sub judice,” said Nhleko in the reply.
“Suffice to say that all processes have been followed.”
Maimane had wanted to know whether the case was being investigated, who the investigating officers were and the timelines for the probe.
On Monday, he criticised the minister’s response as lacking and said he would continue pressing the police for progress reports on the case.
“It has become a bit of a custom at Parliament for them to invoke the sub judice rule. I don’t accept it, I had very carefully complied with the rules of Parliament in the way in which I had phrased my question.”
Maimane said shortly after he pressed charges in March, two police officers were sent to him to confirm that the case was being investigated.
He added: “Now the trick is to make sure we monitor what they are doing.”
Maimane said he saw it as a test of whether the police and the National Prosecuting Authority would treat the president as any other citizen.
“It is really asking the NPA whether they will toe the line or whether they will investigate the very person who appoints them. We cannot allow a precedent to be created where the president is above the law.”
Maimane laid the charges shortly after the release of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s final report on the R246 million Nkandla upgrades.
Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema also laid charges against Zuma in March. He pressed charges of fraud, corruption, theft of public money, and racketeering against Zuma at the Sunnyside police station in Pretoria and told reporters that Madonsela’s findings were so serious as to warrant a full criminal investigation.
In her report, Madonsela found Zuma “unduly benefited from the enormous capital investment” in the Nkandla upgrades, and ordered that he reimburse the state for private luxuries that were added to his home as part of the project.
But this was rejected by Parliament’s ad hoc committee mulling the outcome of various investigations into Nkandla when it discussed its draft report to the National Assembly last week.
The committee, which consists only of ANC members after Maimane and Malema led an opposition walkout in September, found that there was no proof that Zuma had been enriched or had acted improperly.
Maimane has dismissed the draft report as a whitewash and said the DA would go to court if necessary to force Zuma to refund the state.