Nkandla committee officially pardons Zuma

The committee found the president didn't unduly benefit & did not breach the executive members’ ethics code.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma responds to Parliamentary questions in the National Assembly, on 21 August 2014, Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - The Nkandla ad-hoc committee has officially absolved President Jacob Zuma of any wrongdoing in relation to the massive overspending during upgrades to his private home.

In March, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released her Nkandla report and found that Zuma and his family unduly benefitted from the upgrades at his KwaZulu-Natal home.

It also handed the responsibility back to Zuma to decide if any members of his Cabinet are at fault for the wholesale flouting of the law and failure to account revealed by three investigations into the scandal.

As expected, the committee found the president did not unduly benefit and did not breach the executive members' ethics code by failing to stop the spending.

But the committee says only the Constitutional Court can find whether the president failed to meet his constitutional duty.

The committee wants state security experts to evaluate Nkandla to decide whether features like the swimming pool and cattle kraal are for security, saying the public protector isn't qualified to say.

It also wants state security experts to assess the Special Investigating Unit (SIU)'s concerns that despite the millions spent, Nkandla is still not secure.

At the same time, high-profile officer, Lieutenant-General Vinesh Moonoo, who also investigated the Oscar Pistorius case, will be heading the probe into security upgrades at Zuma's Nkandla homestead.

Earlier this year, political parties including the Economic Freedom Fighters and Democratic Alliance, laid charges of corruption, fraud, theft of public money, and racketeering against Zuma at different police stations.

Police have decided that the matter will be centralised and investigated nationally.

The cases are expected to be brought together at the police's headquarters and Moonoo will work with detectives from there.

National police commissioner Riah Phiyega's office would not elaborate on any details of the investigation, but suggested police have not brought official charges against Zuma.