DA wants Mbete to apologise for ConCourt ruling remarks


The Democratic Alliance (DA) has said National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete needs to apologise for claiming that Parliament never acted unlawfully when failed to hold President Jacob Zuma accountable for the upgrades at his private Nkandla home.

In passing its verdict last Friday, the Constitutional Court found that Zuma not only violated the country’s Constitution by refusing the remedial actions of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s Secure in Comfort report, but that Parliament “did everything wrong” when it opted to accept the findings of Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s report, which cleared the President of paying back the money.

“The resolution by the National Assembly absolving the president from compliance with the Public Protector's remedial action is inconsistent with the Constitution,” Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said.

Speaking at a media briefing in Cape Town this past weekend, Mbete said while it accepts the court ruling, there is no evidence to suggest that the National Assembly violated the Constitution.

“There’s no Constitutional Court that says we violated [the Constitution]. The Constitutional Court said certain things were inconsistent with the law,” Mbete said.

“There is a difference between saying a particular action was inconsistent with the Constitution. I don't think Parliament or the National Assembly is in a position where our understanding is that we have done something maliciously for which we have to apologise”.

Disputing Mbete’s claims, DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen said the briefing amounted to a “waste of time”, and that Mbete also missed a “crucial opportunity” to hand in her resignation as Speaker.

“She did her best to speak around the fact that by resolving to absolve President Zuma of compliance with the remedial action in Secure in Comfort instead of facilitating its enforcement as was expected by the Public Protector,” Steenhuisen said.

“We remain resolute in our belief that Parliament’s reputation cannot be restored under Ms Mbete’s leadership, and that she must be held accountable for her and Parliament’s complicity in the Nkandla matter”.

He also stated that the party would consider tabling a motion of no confidence in Mbete if she refuses to resign. A motion of impeachment against Zuma is expected to be heard in Parliament on Tuesday.

A weekend CityPress article has meanwhile alleged that African National Congress (ANC) members loyal to Zuma, reportedly told detractors in the party that his recalling would result in the dissolving of Parliament, that his supporters would call for a third term in office, and that chaos would ensue during the forthcoming local government elections.

In a surprise televised interview on Friday evening, Zuma said he never intended not to pay back the money as outlined in Madonsela’s report, and that he never acted “dishonestly or with any personal knowledge of the irregularities” about the Nkandla built.

“The matter has caused a lot of frustration and confusion, for which I apologise, on my behalf and on behalf of government. I respect the judgement and will abide by it,” Zuma said.

He however stopped short of adhering to calls from opposition parties and political commentators to step down.