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Nkandla committee: Zuma didn't unduly benefit from upgrades

The Nkandla ad-hoc committee looks set to exonerate the President Jacob Zuma.

FILE. The Nkandla ad-hoc committee looks set to exonerate the President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - The Nkandla ad-hoc committee in Parliament has found President Jacob Zuma didn't unduly benefit from the upgrades to his private home, nor did he fail in his Constitutional duty to protect the public purse.

The committee on Thursday evening considered its draft report on the spending scandal, which looks set to exonerate the president over the matter.

The committee, made up six African National Congress (ANC) Members of Parliament (MP)s after opposition parties withdrew last month, has called no witnesses and has not visited Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal.

Instead, it's considered the reports of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and the government task team.

Initial findings include that heads must roll for the wholesale flouting of the law and blown budgets.

But it seems Zuma will be in the clear when the committee submits its final report to the National Assembly.

ANC MP Mmamoloko Kubayi says, "None of these reports have found evidence that the president violated the executive members' ethics code."

ANC deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude says, "All the reports are in agreement with what the president told us in the house, as MPs, that no state money was used to build his houses."

The committee is likely to recommend a fresh security assessment of Nkandla, as the SIU's report indicates it's not secure, despite the millions spent.

Opposition parties withdrew from the process last month, citing concerns with the legitimacy of the process.

ZUMA FAILS TO ANSWER QUESTIONS IN PARLIAMENT

A political storm is meanwhile brewing over Zuma's failure to answer questions in Parliament.

The rules say the president must do so four times a year.

But Zuma's done so only once this year, on 21 August.

The session was abandoned as Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs chanted 'pay back the money', a reference to the Public Protector's recommendations.

Democratic Alliance (DA) Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane says the president is showing contempt for Parliament and the Constitution.

He has given Speaker Baleka Mbete until Monday to respond to his request for a special debate on the issue.

"You are our representative and therefore I implore you, Madame Speaker, to schedule this debate. It is your Constitutional obligation, as much as it is ours, to ensure that Parliament exerts its powers and puts the president in his place."

But Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery accused Maimane of posturing and told MPs Zuma's absence was due to the May elections.

"That's also meant that we've had two State of the Nations and two State of the Nation debates when the president was in Parliament to respond to the issues, as well as for the Presidency budget vote."

While Mbete promised in August that the president would return to conclude his question and answer session, no date has been set.

Parliament goes into recess at the end of November.

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