South Africa 10.11.2014 04:48 pm

Police minister misled Parliament – Mmusi Maimane

President Jacob Zuma's residence in Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday, 4 November 2012 as seen from the road that was blocked by ANC supporters, who did not want Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille to inspect Zuma's homestead. Picture: Giordano Stolley/SAPA

President Jacob Zuma's residence in Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday, 4 November 2012 as seen from the road that was blocked by ANC supporters, who did not want Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille to inspect Zuma's homestead. Picture: Giordano Stolley/SAPA

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko may have misled Parliament over the corruption probe against President Jacob Zuma flowing from charges brought by opposition parties, Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane said on Monday.

Maimane said Nhleko’s claim that the investigation was sub judice either meant that it was so far advanced that charges against the president were in the pipeline, or it was a lie.

“The minister’s use of the sub judice rule… suggests that the National Prosecuting Authority [NPA] is considering charging or has already charged, Jacob Zuma on these Nkandla corruption charges,” he said.

“However, if the matter is not actually sub judice, then minister Nhleko has deliberately misled Parliament in order to avoid answering uncomfortable questions and to protect President Zuma from accountability for Nkandla.

“If the minister was not truthful in his answer then he must face the consequences of misleading Parliament.”

Earlier on Monday police spokesman Solomon Makgale indicated that police had not yet formally brought charges against the president, but that the investigation had been centralised as charges were laid at more than one police station.

“The charges were laid by opposition party members at many police stations. It was centralised at national office.”

He added: “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.”

Maimane and Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema separately laid charges against Zuma some seven months ago, after Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released her report into the R246 million upgrade of the president’s private home in rural KwaZulu-Natal.

Maimane did so in Nkandla, Malema in Sunnyside, Pretoria.

In a written parliamentary question to Nhleko, Maimane recently asked Nhleko who the investigating officers in the case were, from whom statements had been taken and when the investigation would be completed.

On Friday, Nhleko replied: “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.

“Suffice to say that all processes have been followed.”

Maimane said the response was inadequate and he would continue pressing the police minister 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 NPA 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.”

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.

Sapa

 

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