Nkandla visit: ANC in war of words with DA and SANEF


The scheduled ad-hoc committee parliamentary visit to President Jacob Zuma’s private Nkandla home, was abruptly halted after the ruling African National Congress (ANC) alleged that a delegation from the Democratic Alliance (DA) “started howling and hurling insults at police members”, who had been carrying out site inspections at a designated media area.

Speaking in a statement, ANC Spokesperson in the Office of Chief Whip Stone Sizani, Moloto Mothapo, said the delegation, led by DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen and National Spokesperson Phumzile van Damme, started making comments while members of the media were being guided around the property by police.

“True to the DA antics of attracting media attention by hook or crook, he [Steenhuisen] and his mob opted to pull silly stunts in front of the television cameras present,” Mothapo said.

“This conduct of the DA MPs was not in keeping with MPs' oversight function, but a disgraceful stunt which interfered and violated the media's right to conduct its business. Those DA MPs and their party ought to hang their heads in shame for such shameless public display of unruliness”.

Mothapo stated that the disruption, which he described as being “well-orchestrated”, not only deprived the media of relaying its findings to the public, but also “served to distract attention from the important oversight work of the ad hoc committee”.

In a post on twitter afterwards, Steenhuisen said, “[The] only mob is the corrupt cronies in the ANC protecting Zuma at all costs, and the real disgrace is how so much public money [is] spent on one man”.

The ruling party also lashed out at the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) after the organisation earlier blasted a decision not to allow journalists from accompanying Parliamentary members on the tour of the property. Limited access was however later granted.

“The allegations are without basis, ill-informed and reflects a misunderstanding of the basic functioning of parliament. The powers and functions of the Speaker, to whom the request for media access to the President's residence was made by the Media24, are restricted to Parliament, and do not extend to the residence of the President,” Mothapo said in a follow-up statement.

“Sanef's expectation that Parliament should have the authority over who accesses the President's home and its subsequent criticism of the institution for its inability to do so, is without foundation and unfair. We are pleased that the Presidency has undertaken to give the media access to public areas around the homestead such as the helipad, the clinic and houses for personnel”.