Battle moves to Constitutional Court after ANC accepts Nkandla whitewash

During my visit to the Presidency in February, Jacob Zuma admitted during the discussion that his Government had experienced “some difficulty” with the Constitutional Court. He explained that as a result lawmakers were paying a lot more attention to drafting legislation to ensure that it did not end up before the 11 judges on Johannesburg’s Constitution Hill. Zuma’s difficulties with the Constitutional Court are set to rise exponentially. Yesterday, as expected, Parliament’s ANC-dominated ad hoc committee officially adopted a report concluding Zuma did not have to refund any of the R246m spent on his Nkandla homestead. Led by feisty EFF leader Julius Malema, Opposition parties are determined to test the apparent whitewash in the highest court in the land. Not for the first time, South African citizens can be grateful they live in a Constitutional Democracy, a perfect foil to overcoming the “Big Man syndrome”. – Alec Hogg

Opposition Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema reacts as South Africa's President Jacob Zuma answers questions in parliament in Cape Town August 6, 2015. Zuma defended the decision to let Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir evade an arrest warrant and leave the country in June, saying on Thursday the wanted leader had had immunity as a guest of the African Union. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
Opposition Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema reacts as South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma answers questions in parliament in Cape Town August 6, 2015. Zuma defended the decision to let Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir evade an arrest warrant and leave the country in June, saying on Thursday the wanted leader had had immunity as a guest of the African Union. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

By Thomas Hartleb, News24

Johannesburg – The Nkandla ad hoc committee has officially adopted Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko’s report that President Jacob Zuma will not have to pay back public money spent on his Nkandla home.

Nhleko’s report contradicted that of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. She found Zuma had to repay a reasonable portion of the R246m spent on upgrades to his home that were not related to security.

In a statement issued by Parliament spokesperson Temba Gubula, it said committee members from all parties represented on the Nkandla ad hoc committee were given an opportunity to submit their proposed findings and recommendations by no later than 08:00 on Thursday.

Gubula said the committee members from all parties found that there were was “gross exaggeration of the scope, scale and cost of the Nkandla project” and that South Africans were “misled about the opulence of the private residence of the president”.

The ad hoc committee’s report contains the following recommendations:

– The executive ensure that all necessary steps are undertaken to ensure that the safety of the president and his family is not compromised;

– The Portfolio Committees of Public Works, Police and the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence must ensure the continuous monitoring of corrective actions to be taken by relevant National departments;

– That the relevant departments and law enforcement authorities ensure the expeditious conclusion of civil, criminal and disciplinary matters;

– The report of the police minister be adopted; and

– The report of public works be adopted.

But the matter is likely to land up in court.

Both the ACDP and FF Plus indicated they were considering the legal route. The EFF, which was not part of the Nkandla committee, earlier announced it was taking its bid to have Zuma pay up to the Constitutional Court.

“We have said from the beginning it will end in the courts. I foresee a joint application by the majority of opposition parties,” FF Plus parliamentary leader Corné Mulder said.

The ACDP’s Steve Swart said the committee’s conclusion was “very regrettable”.

“It means the ANC majority has exonerated President Jacob Zuma and said he doesn’t have to pay back one cent. We could see he has benefited unduly.

“There are other forums to pursue this matter.”

ANC MP Doris Dlakude said the committee rejected the report by opposition parties, which was intended to replace the ANC members’ report.

“It’s not a true reflection of what transpired in KZN,” she said.

She said those who were involved in wrongdoing at Nkandla had to be punished.

“You cannot accuse me of doing wrong, and leave the people who did this to go scot-free, you can’t do that. President Zuma did what he had to do. He established the inter-ministerial task team to investigate. He acted on the public protector’s report,” she said.

Mulder said the opposition’s report argued that Nhleko’s report was constitutionally flawed. It contained a list of 18 or 19 observations, which included that Zuma unduly benefited from the upgrades.

He said the ANC’s report ignored this and merely dealt with aspects like the shoddy workmanship.

“They are bound to protect the president under all circumstances and used their majority to frustrate the process,” he said.

Said ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga: “Now we will have to go to the House and debate the matter there.”

The report will be tabled in the National Assembly on Friday.- News24

Source: http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Nkandla-ad-hoc-committee-endorses-report-20150806

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