The fallout over Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s Nkandla report has taken another turn.
The ANC is now accusing the DA of flouting the Electoral Act by “distorting” the report and deliberately “defaming” President Jacob Zuma and discrediting the ruling party.
Luthuli House has reported the DA to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
It also gave the official opposition until 5pm on Monday to retract what it described as an anti-Zuma SMS and apologise, or face it at the Electoral Court.
This came after a pro-DA SMS was sent to voters last week, claiming that Madonsela’s report had found that Zuma “stole” taxpayers’ money to fund his private home in KwaZulu-Natal.
“The Nkandla Report shows how Zuma stole your money to build his R246m home. Vote DA on May 7 to beat corruption. Together for change,” read the SMS.
This was despite Madonsela’s report stating that while Zuma had benefited from the R215 million upgrades in the name of security, and failed to protect public funds from wanton abuse, it was “acts or omissions” on the part of ministers and government officials that allowed the abuse of taxpayers’ money to happen.
There was no specific finding that Zuma had stolen the money, the ANC said.
According to section 9 (1) of the Electoral Act of 1998, registered political parties and candidates are not allowed to:
- Speak or act in a way that incites violence or intimidation.
- Publish false or defamatory allegations.
- Plagiarise the emblems of other registered parties.
- Discriminate on the grounds of race, ethnicity, sex, gender, class or religion.
Addressing an ANC media breakfast in Johannesburg on Monday, party spokesman Jackson Mthembu said the DA sent its “vindictive” SMS on purpose.
“That organisation, I can tell you from where I am sitting, has defamed President Zuma, has deliberately been malicious on the person of President Jacob Zuma with the intention of basically discrediting his organisation itself and therefore misleading the voters of this country,” he said.
Mthembu added: “We are saying, ‘IEC, deal with this matter’, if you fail we will definitely go further…this is not a threat. We will go to the Electoral Court.”
DA national spokesman Mmusi Maimane on Monday referred all inquiries to the party’s parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko, who failed to respond to calls and an SMS for comment.
However, Mazibuko defended her party’s response to the Nkandla report during her address to the National Assembly on Monday.
She challenged the ruling party to “go ahead” and defend the Nkandla expenditure “if the ANC believes this is not misappropriation of public funds”.
Mthembu added that the ANC would continue to defend and protect the country’s electoral laws, “including by laying criminal charges against the DA for contravening the very code they should be recommitting themselves to.”
Sapa reports that the DA will demand that Zuma submit a full repayment plan for upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.
“… I will write to both President Jacob Zuma and the Speaker of the National Assembly, Max Sisulu, calling for the full-repayment plan for the money owed by the president to South Africa to be tabled in Parliament and made public,” Mazibuko said on Monday.
The party would forge ahead with attempts to initiate impeachment proceedings against Zuma after findings by Madonsela that Zuma and his family had unduly benefited from security upgrades to his private homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.
Madonsela said Zuma should pay back taxpayers’ money used for those parts of the upgrades that were found not to be for security purposes.
DA MPs in the National Council of Provinces - which was still sitting - would submit questions to Zuma on the matter.
“President Zuma will have 10 working days to reply to these questions,” Mazibuko said.