MPs push for Zuma to appear before Nkandla ad-hoc committee

The ad-hoc committee has the power to call anyone to appear before it and to subpoena those who don't obey.

Newly elected chairperson of Parliament's Nkandla ad-hoc committee Cedric Frolick. Picture: Facebook.

CAPE TOWN -The battle lines are being drawn over whether President Jacob Zuma will be called to appear before parliament's ad-hoc committee on Nkandla.

The committee met briefly today, and African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament (MP) Cedric Frolick was unanimously elected chairperson.

It is back on track after opposition MPs accepted assurances its mandate would be broad and that all reports related to them would be considered including the president's.

The committee has been tasked with considering the president's response to reports on the millions of rands spent on his private Nkandla home.

It will have before it Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report, which found that Zuma breached the executive code of ethics and recommended he repay some of the nearly R250 million spent.

The committee will also have the report by the government's task team, which exonerated Zuma, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU)'s provisional report and Zuma's response to Parliament submitted last month.

It now has to hammer out its programme, but opposition MPs are pushing for the president to appear before it to answer questions.

The committee has the power to call anyone to appear before it and to subpoena those who don't obey.

Democratic Alliance Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane wants the committee to draw up a list of people it wants to appear before it.

But the ANC's Mathole Motshekga says that depends on what's contained in the reports.

"It's not something you draw up like a shopping list. We consider the reports and they will indicate the need."

Frolick says at the next meeting of the committee, on a date yet to be set, it will work out its programme.

The multi-party committee has 11 members - six from the ANC, two from the Democratic Alliance, one from the Economic Freedom Fighters and two representing the other parties.

The committee has to report back to Parliament by 24 October.

An earlier committee was disbanded ahead of the May elections.