‘Nkandla committee protecting Zuma’

DA Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane led a walkout of opposition MPs on Friday.

President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead. Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - Opposition parties on Friday said they refuse to be part of a process aimed at protecting President Jacob Zuma from scrutiny over Nkandla spending.

The comments were made during a sitting of the Nkandla ad-hoc committee in Parliament.

The body is looking into the R246 million spent on Zuma's private KwaZulu-Natal residence.

Democratic Alliance (DA) Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane earlier led a walkout of opposition members of Parliament (MPs).

The drama unfolded after the committee spent two and a half hours in deadlock over whether Zuma should be called to appear before the committee.

MPs also clashed on whether Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's findings against the president could be enforced.

"We cannot participate in a process that seeks to protect an individual. Opposition parties will not be participating in the Nkandla ad-hoc committee," Maimane added.

The African National Congress (ANC) says the move is regrettable but says the work of the committee will continue.

ANC Deputy Chief Whip Doris Dlakude says the opposition parties have acted in bad faith.

"It was clear from the onset that the opposition's desire was never to participate in the committee's process in good faith with a view to assist Parliament to arrive at a sound resolution on the matter."

Maimane however disagrees.

"The key reasons are that in fact, we will not legitimise a deliberate process that seeks to undermine the Constitution."

MPs earlier warned that the ANC would be putting the integrity of Parliament and the Constitution at risk if the public protector was undermined.