Nkandla inquiry: Zuma not responsible for upgrades

The committee says police failed to monitor the process while private companies bloated the costs.

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - The chairperson of Parliament's ad-hoc committee on Nkandla, Cedric Frolick, says the committee has noted the costs for the President's residence at Nkandla but says Jacob Zuma is not responsible for them.

He has told the National Assembly that his committee has considered reports by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and the Public Protector and focussed on the content of all other investigative reports.

Frolick says the President stated that he had been consulted about security needed for Nkandla and that from time to time he received briefings on the upgrades.

However, he was not aware of the total expense.

Frolick says police failed to monitor the process while private companies bloated the costs involved.

He says Zuma must now decide on the next step.

"The president should consider whether any members of the executive authority failed to implement the provisions of the Cabinet memorandum of 2003 either through complacency or negligence in the execution of their duties and if necessary, take appropriate action"

However, the Democratic Alliance (DA)'s Mmusi Maimane has slammed the committee saying it is one-sided.

"The adoption of the report by the ad hoc committee or the African National Congress (ANC) study group on Nkandla is a travesty of Parliamentary oversight. Our president has forsaken his Constitutional duty and the ANC report has rubber-stamped his sins."

The DA has also officially requested in the National Assembly that corruption charges be reinstated against Zuma.

Members of Parliament (MPs) have spent the afternoon arguing, with the report by the Nkandla ad-hoc committee still to be tabled.

After being interrupted several times, the DA's Glynnis Breytenbach was finally given a chance to speak.

"I hereby move on behalf of the DA that in its next sitting, this house debates the reinstatement of 783 charges of corruption and fraud against the president."

Deputy Speaker Lechesa Tsenoli took control of the house after National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete was shouted down for wanting to institute timeframes.

#Nkandla The DA's Mmusi Maimane says time is not a concern - MPs will work late into the night if need be.

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Mbete eventually backed down and motions were then submitted.

But tensions flared again when the DA's Mike Waters was asked to leave, as ordered by Mbete earlier.

A number of issues, including abuse of executive power, expensive flights, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and corruption, were submitted for discussion.

Opposition parties earlier gave Mbete a clear message that the Nkandla scandal will be debated and not simply rubber-stamped.

MPs became angry when Mbete announced timeframes for debates.

"I rule that notices of motion and motions without notices be limited to 45 minutes."

MPs would have none of this and shouted it was time for Mbete to go.

The DA's John Steenhuisen called on Mbete to step down.

"You have lost control of the house for the second time, madam speaker. You are pushing us to a constitutional crisis and would ask that in the interests of this institution, you step down from the chair so we can proceed with the business interests of the day."

Mbete ignored the requests from the floor and instead called for submissions.

The house erupted as another MP spoke over Maimane.

#Nkandla The EFF's Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala questions National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete's handling of today's sitting of Parliament.

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"We request that the debate continue as per programme."

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) leader Kenneth Meshoe then asked for Mbete to abandon her new timeframes, saying enough is enough.

"The public watching what is happening in this house must be embarrassed now. We have embarrassed ourselves and we definitely cannot go on in this way."

African National Congress Chief Whip Stone Sizani then suggested to Mbete that she stick to the original programme.

Mbete then finally backed down.

"We are proceeding with the programme as consulted and adopted this morning."