Police minister master of Zuma’s fate

FILE PICTURE: Police Minister Nathi Nhleko. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

The final decision on whether President Jacob Zuma should pay back some of the Nkandla money hinges on Police Minister Nathi Nhleko.

Nhleko is expected to announce his determination of how much money the president should pay for the controversial security upgrades at his Nkandla homestead. This was confirmed yesterday by Nhleko’s spokesperson, Musa Zondi, who said the minister would make an announcement before the end of the month in parliament, when he was “ready”.

Zuma appointed Nhleko as a minister after the May 7 elections last year and speculation is rife Nhleko might exonerate Zuma to cement his stay in the Cabinet. Zondi denied this yesterday, saying: “Before you trip yourself about what might or might not happen, just wait for the announcement.”

On Wednesday, Zuma ducked the Nkandla overspend issue in parliament when asked when he would repay some of the R246 million in state funds spent on the controversial security upgrades. He was responding to a question posed by Economic Freedom Fighters MP Natasha Louw.

Zuma said her question was “premature”. The president insisted Public Protector Thuli Madonsela made a recommendation on the matter, not a judicial verdict.

However, Madonsela’s spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, yesterday said she stood by her report, in which she recommended Zuma pay back some of the money. “Section 182 (1) (c) of the Constitution referred to appropriate remedial action, not a recommendation,” said Segalwe.

“The only reference to a recommendation is found in the Public Protector Act. Even the Act makes it clear a recommendation is but one of many ways through which the public protector can resolve a complaint.”

today in print

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