Parliament confirms Nkandla response

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Copy of st zuma hand (40897257) INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Parliament has confirmed it had received comments from President Jacob Zuma on Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report into the Nkandla upgrades. File picture:Paballo Thekiso

Cape Town - Parliament on Wednesday confirmed it had received “comments” from President Jacob Zuma on Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report into upgrades at his Nkandla homestead.

“President Jacob Zuma today submitted to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Max Sisulu, his comments on the report of the Public Protector... and a copy of her report on the security upgrades at his Nkandla residence,” it said in a statement.

The president's submission would be published in Parliament's Announcement, Tablings and Committee Reports.

Earlier, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said Zuma would “comply with the law” in terms of the deadline imposed by Madonsela that the president respond to Parliament within 14 days of the release of her report, which was tabled on March 19.

In a statement on Wednesday announcing Madonsela's deadline had been met, the presidency said Zuma had noted in his response that three state agencies or institutions - the Public Protector, the justice, crime prevention and security cluster of Cabinet, and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) - had all probed the Nkandla upgrades.

“The president has decided that he will give a full and proper consideration to all the matters before him and, upon receipt of the SIU report, will provide Parliament with a further report on the decisive executive interventions that he would consider to be appropriate.”

SIU spokesman Boy Ndala told Sapa on Wednesday that his unit's investigation was still ongoing and would be completed at the end of next month.

He said the status of the report - shown on the SIU's website as “completed” - was not correct.

“It's incorrect. Its status is still ongoing.”

Asked when the report would be completed, he responded: “It's going to be at the end of May.”

In its statement, the presidency said Zuma remained concerned “about the allegations of maladministration and impropriety around procurement in the Nkandla project, in particular the allegations of cost inflation”.

The Democratic Alliance said this was nothing more than a delaying tactic.

“This effectively means that an elected head of state is openly playing games with the Parliament which elected him; as well as the country’s Public Protector, who is constitutionally empowered to take remedial action against him,” DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said in a statement.

“Indeed, his decision to wait for the Special Investigating Unit investigation (SIU) to be finalised before reporting back to Parliament on what steps he will take - given the very clear recommendations set out in the Public Protector’s report - is nothing more than a delaying tactic.”

Mazibuko said his decision to wait for the SIU report implied a lack of trust in Chapter Nine institutions.

“The truth is that President Zuma is running away from accountability. We won’t let this happen without a fight.

“We will continue to push on with our impeachment motion, and we will continue to seek legal advice on what steps can be taken to force the president to abide by these recommendations,” said Mazibuko.

Freedom Front Plus Chief Whip Corne Mulder accused Zuma of avoiding his responsibilities before general elections on May 7.

“If Zuma is so innocent and ignorant about the Nkandla issue as he alleges, he now had the ideal opportunity to prove his innocence in Parliament. He chooses not to do it,” Mulder said.

“It is unthinkable that South Africans will be going to the ballot boxes on 7 May with this cloud hanging over the head of the president and the number one candidate of the ANC.”

Among the findings in Madonsela's report are that Zuma unduly benefited from the upgrades to his KwaZulu-Natal homestead, and that he should pay back a portion of the money.

Speaking during a door-to-door campaign in the Cape Town suburb of Gugulethu last Sunday, Zuma said he had not been told about the upgrades to his Nkandla home, which included a swimming pool, cattle kraal, chicken coop and amphitheatre.

“They did this without telling me... So why should I pay for something I did not ask for?” he reportedly told a local private television station at the time.

Sapa



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