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'Zuma hiding behind Parliamentary process to get off the hook'

Seven opposition parties today responded to the findings of the Nkandla ad-hoc committee in Parliament.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Opposition parties say President Jacob Zuma knew exactly what was happening at Nkandla and is hiding behind a parliamentary process stacked with his own cheerleaders to get him off the hook.

Seven opposition parties today responded to the findings of the Nkandla ad-hoc committee in Parliament and presented their own counter report on the scandal.

The ad-hoc committee absolves Zuma of any wrongdoing in relation to the massive overspending during upgrades to his private home and blames his architect.

The combined opposition parties include the Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters, United Democratic Movement, Freedom Front Plus, Congress of the People and AgangSA.

In her report released in March, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said Zuma and his family improperly benefitted from the R246 million upgrades, which included a cattle enclosure and amphitheatre.

The parties say Zuma must be removed from Parliament for violating his Constitutional duty to help and defend the public protector whose findings they say he has neither heeded nor challenged in court as he is entitled to.

DA Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane read a joint statement by the seven parties.

"ANC cadre deployment has instilled a culture of big man politics into all levels of government and the facts of the Nkandla upgrades resulted in a scheme under which Zuma got what president Zuma wanted."

The parties' counter report says Zuma must repay part of the money used for lavish upgrades to his Nkandla home as the public protector says he should.

"He is hiding behind the Parliamentary processes, stacked with his own cheerleaders to in fact let him off the hook."

The stage is now set for fiery debate when the Nkandla ad- hoc committee's report comes before the National Assembly tomorrow afternoon.