Zuma being evasive, not going to pay back the money - Maimane


Democratic Alliance (DA) Parliamentary leader, Mmusi Maimane, has said that President Jacob Zuma’s refusal to accept accountability for the R246-million spent on security upgrades at his private Nkandla home, proves that he has no intention of paying back the money.

Speaking in a statement after Zuma’s first questions and answers session in Parliament since the August 21st chaos yesterday, Maimane said that the president’s dismissal of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s Nkandla report, Secure in Comfort, and failure to provide sufficient evidence as to why he never benefited from the upgrades, is a clear indication that he has no intent in upholding his oath of office.

“The answers of the President are indicative of a pattern of scapegoating and blame shifting that is unbecoming of his office. The fact is that if the President respected the dignity of his office, he would have resigned long ago,” Maimane wrote.

Zuma yesterday stated he never once thought about paying back the money as Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s investigation into matter as not yet been completed, adding that he cannot pay anything back without an amount being calculated.

“That determination has not been done. Why do you say I should pay back the money? You don't even know how much,” he responded to the question by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Natasha Louw.

Maimane also took a swipe at Zuma’s failure to appear in Parliament last year to answer questions, saying that a breakdown in communication between his office and that of National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete, is evident that one or the other “is misleading Parliament”. The party has called upon the confirmation of a date in which Zuma should answer the questions left unanswered after being interrupted by the EFF during the August sitting.

Addressing the question posted by Maimane, a visibly annoyed Zuma stated that he had always come to Parliament when asked, and that he never dodged a sitting to avoid answering questions.

“Whenever Parliament says I have to come on anything, I do so. I’ve never refused. I was standing here (on August 21) having not refused, having not dodged to answer questions in Parliament as you have been saying, up to that day I’ve never. I was standing here and I answered two questions of the six.

“The third one I answered many times. I was asked by the EFF many times. I answered the question. They wanted the answer they want, not what I was answering,” he said to applause from ANC MP’s

Zuma’s recollection of the event then resulted in EFF National Spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, rising on a point order. Proceedings soon got hot heated as a clearly angered Zuma continued addressing Maimane despite Mbete’s pleas for him to sit down and let Ndlozi speak.

“This Parliament didn’t act honourably towards me. They stopped me from answering questions. I never dodged. And what you have saying in public that the president is avoiding [answering questions] is absolutely untrue,” he continued with Mbete still asking him to Ndlozi raise his point.

“There has never been a date given to me to come to Parliament to answer questions. I want that issue cleared. You asked a question, now listen to my answer. This Parliament has never asked to me to return since that day. I will always come when a date is agreed on”.


CAPTION: Still image of President Jacob Zuma addressing Democratic Alliance (DA) Parliamentary leader, Mmusi Maimane, during yesterday's questions and answers sitting in Parliament. IMAGE sourced from eNCA