Cape Town - The ANC in Parliament has closed ranks behind President Jacob Zuma saying it is satisfied with his “comprehensive” response to all the reports related to the Nkandla security upgrades.
But Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is not satisfied, and as far as she’s concerned, President Zuma has failed to respond to her report.
Last week, Zuma formally distanced himself from the excessive spending on security upgrades to his Nkandla home, leaving it to Police Minister Nathi Nhleko to decide whether he should pay any of the costs.
Zuma submitted his response to Parliament on Thursday.
On Monday, ANC chief whip Stone Sizani said the party was satisfied with Zuma’s “comprehensive” response to all the reports related to Nkandla, including Madonsela’s report on the upgrades.
“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 in relation to the project to assist Parliament to sufficiently process the matter. It would have been amiss for the president to confine himself to a single report at the expense of the rest,” said Sizani.
He said the protector’s “Secure in Comfort” report itself does make reference to several reports already issued on the upgrades.
“A parliamentary process that should deal with all the relevant reports regarding the security upgrades at Nkandla private residence must now 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,” said Sizani.
Madonsela’s spokesman, Oupa Segalwe, said on Monday that the document that was “disseminated” by the president “does not respond to the public protector’s report”.
He added that the document states in paragraph seven “that is does not represent a comment on the public protector’s report”.
“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,” said Segalwe.
He said the the public protector will make a statement sometime this week on whether she has written back to Zuma to express her dissatisfaction with his response.
At the weekend, the Presidency said it has also noted statements attributed to Madonsela “stating that President Jacob Zuma had not responded to the public protector’s report on the Nkandla security upgrades”.
“The president regards all the investigations and reports into the upgrades as important. He has responded to the National Assembly taking all the reports into account,” said Presidency spokesman Mac Maharaj.
Maharaj said the president’s response to the National Assembly took into account the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, public protector and SIU reports.