‘Zuma replied to protector’s Nkandla report’

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iol nws aug 3 spy tapes 2755338 GCIS President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS

Johannesburg - ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani on Monday said he was satisfied that President Jacob Zuma had responded to all reports on security upgrades to his Nkandla home, including the public protector's.

“In responding to Parliament on this matter, it was important and appropriate that the president takes into account not only one but all the applicable reports produced thus far... to assist Parliament to sufficiently process the matter,” Sizani said in a statement.

“It would have been amiss for the president to confine himself to a single report at the expense of the rest.”

On Friday, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's office said Zuma had not yet responded to her report on the R246 million security upgrades at his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

Her office said the response, handed to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete by Zuma last week, did not respond to Madonsela's report.

“In fact, in the document it says this is not a comment on the public protector's report,” spokeswoman Kgalalelo Masibi said in an e-mail to Sapa at the time.

“That means a document that comments on the public protector's report or indicates action taken or to be taken to implement remedial action in compliance with section 3(5) of the Executive Members Ethics Act must still be submitted to Parliament by the president.”

On Saturday, the presidency said Zuma was taking all reports into account. Spokesman Mac Maharaj said the president's response to the National Assembly took the joint standing committee on intelligence report, the public protector's report titled “Secure in Comfort”, and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report into account.

Sizani said the parliamentary process that dealt with the relevant reports should be allowed to take its course.

“We are confident that, in processing the matter, the opinions of various role players, including those of the public protector, would be formally sought by Parliament. This process should therefore be respected,” he said.

Earlier this year, Madonsela found Zuma and his family unduly benefited from the upgrades and recommended that he repay some of the money.

Zuma declined to respond to Madonsela's report in full within the required fortnight and said instead he would wait for the SIU's findings.

Public spending on security upgrades at his Nkandla homestead have turned into one of the major controversies of the Zuma presidency, as costs escalated to R246 million. It emerged the project included a pool (dubbed a firepool by government), an amphitheatre, and a chicken run. - Sapa

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