Johannesburg - ANC national chairwoman Baleka Mbete is protecting President Jacob Zuma by using culture to defend corruption behind the security upgrades in Nkandla, DA MP Lindiwe Mazibuko said on Thursday.
“Her words are nothing more than another failed attempt at excusing the inexcusable and hiding Nkandla behind cultural practices,” Mazibuko said in a statement.
She said Mbete was just one of Zuma's close allies who were tripping over themselves to protect him from accountability.
“Earlier today, Ms Mbete was quoted as saying: 'The issue of a man's kraal or a kraal of a family is a holy space…' and that 'in the African tradition you don't interfere with a man's kraal'.
“This is not only an insensitive misappropriation of our nation's cultural values, but it is also an affront to the millions of South Africans who are waiting for answers to their questions about the R260 million which was spent on President Zuma’s private home in Nkandla,” Mazibuko said.
She said the Democratic Alliance would not rest until those responsible including Zuma were held to account for their actions.
Earlier Mbete told reporters in Cape Town there were no plans to legally challenge Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report on Nkandla.
“We have not taken such a decision,” she said.
There were also no plans to take action against Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa for his role in the security upgrades at Zuma's private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.
“Again, we have taken no such decision.”
Madonsela found that Mthethwa's declaration of the homestead as a national key point amounted to improper conduct and maladministration.
This finding formed part of her final report, released last month, on the security upgrades totalling R246 million.
She found that Zuma and his family unduly benefited from the upgrades, and said Zuma should pay back a portion of the cost.
Mbete said Madonsela's report and a report released by government's task team were largely similar, and that Zuma was found to have not lied to Parliament.
The ANC agreed that the escalating cost of Nkandla had to be probed because there was “too much of this culture” in government, and the public works department in particular.
However, it believed some of Madonsela's remarks amounted to interference in terms of African tradition.
“A lot was clarified, in fact, by Thuli's report. She then goes on to say a few things which, in our view, are actually debatable because in the African tradition you don't interfere with a man's kraal.
“The issue of a man's kraal or a kraal of a family is a holy space.”