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National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu has established a parliamentary ad hoc committee on the R215 million security upgrades carried out at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home.
“The mandate of the ad hoc committee is to consider the submissions by the president in response to the public protector’s report and make recommendations, where applicable,” Parliament said on Wednesday night.
The submissions include Zuma’s letter to Parliament last week, in which he said he was awaiting the findings of a probe by the Special Investigating Unit, the presidential proclamation that gave effect to this investigation, and the public protector’s report, “Secure in Comfort”.
The multiparty ad hoc committee – 12 ANC MPs, two DA MPs, one each from Cope and the IFP, and one representing all other smaller parties – have until April 30 to finalise their work.
“Once the ad hoc committee has completed its task, it will submit its report, and this will be published in the parliamentary papers and on Parliament’s website for public access,” Parliament said.
Parliamentary spokesman Luzuko Jacobs said the practicalities of getting the committee together depended on how soon political parties submitted the names of their representatives, among other things.
News that the committee was in the making broke earlier this week when opposition parties confirmed that the Speaker had consulted them.
Parliamentary protocol requires consultations with the chief whips of the majority party and other parties.
DA leader Lindiwe Mazibuko called in late March for the establishment of the committee – the first step to possible impeachment of the president.
According to Section 89 of the constitution, a president may be removed by a resolution of the National Assembly, supported by two thirds of MPs, because of “a serious violation of the constitution or the law”, “serious misconduct” or “inability to perform the functions of office”.
Any president so removed from office loses all benefits of that office and may not serve in public office again.
According to parliamentary protocol, an ad hoc committee is the way to bring matters before the National Assembly.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found a systemic failure to adhere to policy and prescripts across the government. Her report said that while Zuma had not misled Parliament, his behaviour had been “inconsistent” with his office, the executive ethics code of conduct and the constitutional obligation to spend state funds prudently.
Madonsela found Zuma should repay at least some of the costs of non-security improvements, like the cattle kraal, swimming pool and visitors’ centre, as he and his family had benefited.
On Wednesday night, Mazibuko welcomed the establishment of the committee as a “bold” step.
The ANC at Parliament could not be reached for comment.
The news of the establishment of the parliamentary ad hoc committee came a day after security cluster ministers said they had written to the public protector for clarification of the Nkandla report.