DA’s Nkandla court bid ‘no surprise’
Cape Town - The DA's court application to compel government to hand over a report on the upgrade of President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead is “opportunistic and attention-seeking”, ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani said on Monday.
“We have become accustomed to the DA's tendency to undermine the constitutional functions of Parliament by constantly calling on the judiciary to interfere in matters before the institution,” Sizani said.
He was responding to news that Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko approached the Western Cape High Court on Monday for an order overturning Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi's decision to classify the report detailing the over R200
million upgrade to Zuma's private KwaZulu-Natal homestead.
The report was currently before Parliament's joint standing committee on intelligence (JSCI).
“We are confident that the parliamentary committee's work on this report will not be distracted by the DA's shenanigans,” Sizani said.
Earlier on Monday, Mazibuko said she went to court in her personal capacity and as leader of the opposition in Parliament.
“When the DA submitted a Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia) application to obtain this report in an effort to make it public, minister Nxesi's department gave no reply to our application,” Mazibuko said.
“In terms of the Paia, the application is thus deemed rejected as per section 28(1)(b).”
Nxesi rejected a subsequent appeal, saying it was premature as the report had already been sent to the JSCI. The JSCI meets behind closed doors.
“We have long held that the classification of the report is invalid, and constitutes yet another attempt to shield President Zuma from public accountability,” Mazibuko said.
She was asking the court to declare the rejection of the DA's Paia application and appeal unlawful and invalid.
Should she succeed, Mazibuko wanted the so-called “Nkandlagate” report handed over within five days of a court order.
“Alternatively, that the court orders that the parts of the report pertaining to state security be severed and the report then be made public,” Mazibuko said.