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Nkandla ad-hoc committee resumes without opposition

Opposition MPs walked out of a meeting last week after wrangling over whether witnesses could be called.

FILE: The ad-hoc committee has been briefed by Parliament's advisors on the differences and similarities between two reports compiled on the Nkandla spending. Picture: City Press.

CAPE TOWN - Parliament's ad-hoc committee on Nkandla has resumed its work without opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) who have withdrawn from the process, leaving only the African National Congress (ANC) to scrutinise the multi-million rand spending on President Jacob Zuma's private home.

Opposition MPs walked out of a meeting last week after wrangling over whether witnesses could be called and whether Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's recommendations should be enforced.

The ad-hoc committee has been briefed by Parliament's advisors on the differences and similarities between two reports compiled on the Nkandla spending. They are Madonsela's report and the Special Investigating Unit's probe into the security upgrades.

In her report released in March, Madonsela said Zuma and his family improperly benefitted from the R246 million upgrades, which included a cattle enclosure and amphitheatre, and that he should pay back some of the costs of the unnecessary renovations.

ANC MP Mathole Motshekga used the opportunity to raise a controversial issue - whether or not Madonsela's recommendations should be enforced.

"I have maintained that the remedial actions taken by the public protector are not binding on Parliament."

There's a very different atmosphere in the committee today compared to previous meetings, with no objections, no debate and no criticism, as there are no opposition MPs.

'MADONSELA'S REPORT IN PARLIAMENT'S HANDS'

Madonsela says she will leave the Nkandla report in the hands of Parliament.

The public protector held a briefing in Pretoria earlier today on several investigations involving service delivery but explained she won't be drawn on the Nkandla issue.

She did however say that it was her duty to investigate, in the hope that the executive will honour its own ethics code.

Madonsela said it's now up to the ad-hoc committee

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