Hold off on Nkandla, Zuma tells EFF
Parliament, Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma on Thursday said the final word on whether he should reimburse the state for improvements to his Nkandla home had yet to be spoken, and insisted that the Public Protector’s report on the spending scandal did not carry the status of a judgment.
“The involvement of government in me building my house, on the security, is government policy and there are departments responsible for that and that is what they did and nobody has found that they did anything wrong,” he said after an angry exchange with Economic Freedom Fighters MP Vusiwana Mtileni.
“The Public Protector said this president and his family... may have to pay back the money, but that will be determined by the minister of police in consultation with the minister of finance.”
Zuma was confronted with the issue by agitated EFF MPs in the National Council of Provinces after telling the chamber that he was still reading the report of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry into the killing of mineworkers at Marikana and could not say when he would release it. It was handed to him on March 31.
Mtileni said Zuma was dithering on the Marikana report as he had on Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s directive last year that he reimburse the state for luxuries included in a R246-million security upgrade of his private residence.
Zuma initially responded by daring Mtileni to take the matter outside the chamber.
“Was that a threat? I am (not sure) that it is very parliamentary for the president to say that he will respond to the issue outside,” objected fellow EFF MP Leigh-Anne Mathys.
NCOP chairwoman Thandi Modise said that there was nothing offensive about Zuma’s response and that it was up to Mtileni whether “he chooses to avail himself to the invitation or not”.
Mtileni rose on a point of order and complained that Zuma was scaring him.
“It reminds me of the NA sitting where we were jostled out,” he added, referring to police’s removal of EFF MPs from the National Assembly in February when they insisted on raising Nkandla.
Chuckling, Zuma said the EFF was biased to the point of obsession.
“They have got preconceived ideas. They cannot even hear. I am happy to explain.”
He said Police Minister Nathi Nhleko had duly been instructed to make a determination on any potential repayment, in line with Madonsela’s report.
“He has indicated at least to the Cabinet that he is ready to respond and make the determination. The problem that has been bugging the EFF is jumping the gun.
“Their understanding is that there is a judgment that Zuma must pay back the money, there is nothing of that nature. That is going to be determined by the process and it is going to be the minister of police who is going to say the final word.”
“They think a recommendation is a judgment, unfortunately. They have got something in their head about Nkandla. I want them to be clear: they are wrong, they are just doing politics that is not a very good politics.”
The Western Cape High Court recently granted an appeal in a case involving findings by Madonsela against SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng with the motivation that it had become crucial that the Supreme Court of Appeal pronounce on the status of reports by the Chapter 9 institutions.