Nkandla committee’s mandate unchangedComment on this story
Parliament - Political parties have agreed that the Nkandla parliamentary committee's terms of reference will remain unchanged, the ANC said on Thursday.
The committee would meet again on Tuesday, ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani said in statement.
Opposition parties have argued that the terms of reference are too vague and therefore risk excluding proper consideration of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's findings on state spending at President Jacob Zuma's private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.
“The terms of reference of the ad hoc committee set to consider the president’s report on the security upgrades at his private home will remain unchanged in line with the House resolution of 19 August 2014,” Sizani said.
The decision was taken after extensive discussion among the chief whips of political parties, he added.
Sizani said the committee would deal with all relevant reports on the Nkandla improvements - Zuma's submission to Parliament, Madonsela's report, and those of the Special Investigating Unit, the standing committee on intelligence, and the security cluster task team.
“The terms of reference as they stand are clear enough to allow the committee to achieve its mandate. We are therefore pleased that the parties have reached consensus on this matter and that the committee can begin its work without delay.”
The committee met for the first time last Friday, but failed to elect a chair, as opposition parties joined forces to demand that it first review its terms of reference.
The Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters said they feared the ANC was resisting explicit reference to Madonsela's report because it wanted her recommendation that Zuma repay a portion of the R246 million spent on his private homestead swept under the carpet.
As that meeting ended, it appeared there was no shared understanding between the opposition and the ruling party about the way forward on the terms of reference.
DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane said he thought it was agreed the matter would return to the National Assembly for the mandate to be rephrased.
But the ANC's Cedric Frolick, the party's nominee to chair the committee, said it would be resolved through dialogue.
The opposition parties did not immediately respond to requests for comment.