Opposition blasts approval of second Nkandla ad-hoc committee

BY CHARL BOSCH - JUNE 3, 2015

A motion by opposition parties to block the establishing of a second ad-hoc committee enquiry into the upgrades at President Jacob Zuma’s private Nkandla home, was struck off the programme after the ruling African National Congress (ANC) used its majority vote.

The result comes after a request by the Democratic Alliance (DA) to have the motion include Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s Secure in Comfort report, and have her as well as President Jacob Zuma, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi and Police Minister Nathi Nhleko appear before the committee, was rejected by a 192 vs 103 vote during the second day of Parliament’s budget vote on Tuesday evening.

Speaking in a statement, party leader Mmusi Maimane stated that the re-establishing of the committee was “nothing more than a smokescreen to shield the President from all responsibility” and that Nhleko’s report, which cleared Zuma of paying back a portion of the R246-million spent on the upgrades, which included a swimming pool, cattle kraal, private cinema and chicken coop, was “constitutionally fatally flawed, biased and irrational”.

“The Minister’s report cannot be considered in isolation, and that the Public Protector’s findings that the President must repay a fair portion of the costs of the project must be upheld,” Maimane said.

“As a member of the Executive, the Minister of Police has no authority to overrule the remedial action prescribed by the Public Protector. He has a personal interest in absolving the President because this is the very person to whom he owes his appointment. The Minister is clearly intent on not biting the hand that feeds him”.

Earlier, the party’s Chief Whip, John Steenhuisen, branded the President a “one man wrecking ball” and that his “performance last week was nothing short of a national disgrace”.

“Barely a week ago, the President stood at this very podium sneering, “Nkaaaandla, Nkaaaandla, Nkaaaandla”. Whilst this did however make a change from his usual refrain of “angazi” “angazi” “angazi” it did nothing but undermine his credibility and authority,” Steenhuisen said to cheers and claps from opposition benches.

“The President criticised Members of this Parliament for not being able to pronounce certain words correctly, well here’s some President Zuma struggles to even say, let alone pronounce: accountability, transparency, responsibility, ethics, I am guilty and here’s is the money I am paying back to the South African people”.

Steenhuisen also accused Zuma and his cabinet of denying opposition parties access to Nhleko’s report, describing the subsequent press conference as “cynical and “shameful”.

“The President may have destroyed or cowed every other institution that has got in his way, but he will never destroy Parliament”.

Speaking directly after him, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Deputy President and Chief Whip Floyd Shivambu, said that “parliament had become a rubber stamp the executive” and that certain institutions have been “turned into replacements for democracy”.

“How do you explain that after the Public Protector’s report, Parliament choses to engage in the same activity, recommends a different action and deploys a Minister of Police to show some bioscope to say that the President of the ANC must not pay back the money,” he said, referring to the video clip showing the pool being used as a fire pool.

Proceedings then threatened to boil over later after Shivambu accused Minister in the Presidency for Women, Susan Shabangu, of telling him to voetsek. A shouting match ensued with various ANC MP’s, including party Chief Whip Stone Sizani, accusing him of mouthing the words to her. Shabangu however denied the allegations with the matter eventually being dropped.