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Nkandla ad-hoc committee on the brink of collapse

An intense war of words in Parliament has led to a major standoff between the ANC & opposition MPs.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead.

CAPE TOWN - A major standoff between the African National Congress (ANC) and opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) has brought Parliament's ad-hoc committee on Nkandla to the brink of collapse.

Opposition MPs threatened to walk out near the end of the committee's marathon nine-hour sitting yesterday.

The committee's tasked with dealing with the various reports on the Nkandla spending scandal and must report back to Parliament by 24 October.

Opposition MPs want it to ensure that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's remedial actions are implemented, including that President Jacob Zuma repay a portion of the millions spent.

They also want Zuma to appear before the committee to respond to unanswered questions about his involvement in the project.

But the ANC disagrees and its MPs are adamant that Madonsela's remedial actions are mere recommendations and that nobody needs to be called to answer outstanding questions on Nkandla.

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema issued the following ultimatum: "Then we'll meet in court. We are not going to be bullied here by the ANC which does everything in its power to protect President Zuma."

Freedom Front Plus Chief Whip Dr Corné Mulder made an appeal, claiming this was "a very serious matter".

Mulder added: "If we fail in our duty, don't expect anyone to ever come and account to this Parliament again."

The Democratic Alliance's Mmusi Maimane said, "If we do take the executive view, we might as well concede that we are sweethearts of the executive."

In March, Madonsela found that Zuma and his family benefited unduly from the R246 million upgrades.

She asked the president to pay back a portion of the money.

'ZUMA MUST BE PROSECUTED'

Malema also said that Zuma must face prosecution for out-of-control spending of public funds.

The EFF leader said the president must take full responsibility for the overspending at his KwaZulu-Natal residence.

The controversial politician said officials were able to flout rules and procedures, which resulted in spending spiraling out of control.

"We must put Zuma to task and this will prove he was involved, he gave instruction, he even promised protection."

The EFF president said Zuma failed in his responsibility as the country's chief executive to prevent state coffers from being looted, even after media reports that spending was out of control.

Meanwhile, it was reported on Tuesday that 20 EFF Members of Parliament (MP's) were served with official notices to appear before the Parliament's Powers and Privileges Committee.

But in a sharply worded statement, the red berets labelled the committee a "kangaroo court".

EFF chief whip Floyd Shivambu referred to the committee as a quasi-disciplinary process dominated and controlled by the ruling party.

The committee meets again at 10am today.

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