Nkandla: D-Day for Zuma

Today is the deadline for Jacob Zuma to account to Parliament over his role in upgrades to his Nkandla home.

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says if President Jacob Zuma wants more time to respond to her Nkandla report, he would have to request an extension from Parliament.

Today is the deadline for the president to account to Parliament over his role in the R246 million spent on upgrades to his private home in KwaZulu-Natal.

It's been two weeks since Madonsela released her findings, which found he had improperly benefitted from the upgrades.

Madonsela says any request for an extension has to be directed to Parliament.

"Although I set the deadline, it wasn't my deadline; it was the deadline set by the Executive Members' Ethics Act."

Madonsela says if today's deadline is not met, she would expect an explanation.

"We would do what we normally do, which is asking the presidency why the deadline has not been met and then request action."

But Madonsela says this isn't the first report that the president has been required to respond to and from past experience, his office has complied.

The public protector says if Parliament decides to hold a debate on her Nkandla report, she wants to be invited to present her findings.

At the same time, the Democratic Alliance (DA) is increasing the pressure to compel the National Assembly to debate whether or not the president should be removed from office.

DA Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko says Madonsela's report leaves unanswered questions about whether Zuma misled Parliament over the extent of his knowledge about the upgrades to Nkandla.

Mazibuko says removing a sitting president under section 89 of the Constitution is extremely serious.

"It is a punishment that has serious consequences. That president will lose all the benefits of public office and will never be able to run for public office again."

She says the DA believes Madonsela's report provides evidence that Zuma did not come clean with Members of Parliament.

Mazibuko says the matter has to be fully investigated.

"Parliament must therefore not treat this like any other matter on its agenda. Given its importance, the DA is concerned about the length of time that's being taken by the speaker to consider this request."

Zuma has until midnight tonight to meet the deadline.

He will have to submit Madonsela's report, his comments as well as any action he intends taking or has already taken to National Assembly speaker Max Sisulu.

It will then be up to Sisulu to decide how to take the matter forward.

As Parliament is currently in recess, the president will submit his response on paper.


Parliament spokesman Luzuko Jacobs says Parliament is waiting for the president's response.

He says Sisulu is likely to consult with ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani and other party whips before deciding the way forward.

"Once the report is received, the speaker will then undertake the necessary consultations on the basis of the rules and make a decision on what Parliamentary process should be followed."

Sisulu can either refer the matter to an existing committee of Parliament or set up a special ad hoc committee.

That committee would have to deliberate and complete its own report before the speaker can decide whether or not to recall Parliament to debate Madonsela's report.