President Jacob Zuma. File photo: Siphiwe Sibeko

Cape Town -

The DA has accused the ANC of trying to use tricks to ensure President Jacob Zuma does not answer tough oral questions in Parliament before the May 7 general elections.

The official opposition says the National Assembly has not yet received even a provisional date from the Presidency for when Zuma will be available to answer questions.

DA chief whip Watty Watson said the party’s parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko, raised concerns on January 16 about the presidency’s failure to commit itself to a date.

“The DA will not let the ANC get away with preventing questions being posed to Zuma this term. The president, in terms of the rules of the National Assembly, and to give effect to executive oversight, must attend a parliamentary session at least once a term to answer questions posed by the elected representatives.”

Some of the issues opposition MPs are likely to ask Zuma include the R206 million Nkandla security upgrade and Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on the spending.

Madonsela said her Nkandla report would be out by March 1.

Zuma could also face questions on the rise in police-related killings and brutality, as well as the surge in service protests that has gripped the country.

Reports stated voter registration in parts of the country was disrupted by ongoing service protests.

The president, who was said to be relaxing at his Nkandla home on Sunday, condemned the heavy-handed approach of the police in dealing with the protests.

Although he has denied involvement, Zuma could also face questions on the Gupta plane landing scandal.

“Zuma has numerous questions of public importance to answer,” said Watson.

He said the Presidency’s failure to commit itself to a date was “no doubt part of an election strategy to prevent tough questions being asked”.

Zuma’s spokesman, Mac Maharaj, said on Sunday that he was not up to date with the details of the president’s latest parliamentary programme.

Last month, he said Zuma had been “available and ready” to answer written and oral questions last year and in previous years, “and 2014 is no different except for the elections”.

ANC chief whip spokesman Moloto Mothapo could not be reached for comment.

* Meanwhile, it was reported on Sunday that Zuma had asked for another extension to finalise his response to Madonsela’s damning provisional report on the upgrade of his Nkandla homestead.

Political Bureau