Nkandla, Eskom high on agenda for Zuma Parly session

Zuma will answer questions in the National Assembly on 11 March, almost 7 months after his last appearance.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Nkandla, Eskom, and nuclear power are expected to be just some of the issues raised when Members of Parliament (MPs) are given a chance to ask President Jacob Zuma questions for the first time this year.

His last appearance in the National Assembly in August was cut short when Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs shouted "pay back the money", in reference to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report on the upgrades to Zuma's private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

The Nkandla upgrades came under heavy criticism in a report by Madonsela in March last year, but Zuma has always maintained he did nothing wrong.

Madonsela's report said Zuma had "benefited unduly" from some of the upgrades, which included a cattle enclosure and amphitheatre, and should pay back some of the costs of the unnecessary renovations.

The EFF has threatened to use Zuma's State of the Nation Address (Sona) to demand answers.

Zuma will answer oral questions in the National Assembly on 11 March, nearly seven months after his last appearance in the house descended into chaos.

Last year, opposition MPs accused Zuma of failing to fulfil his obligation to answer questions in the National Assembly as he must appear four times a year.

But an attempt by the Democratic Alliance (DA) to move a motion to censure the president was rejected by the majority of MPs.

Earlier this month, EFF leader Julius Malema wrote to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete asking her to convene a special sitting before Zuma's Sona next month so that he could answer questions.

He warned that if the request was ignored, EFF MPs would have no choice but to use that occasion to demand answers.

At the same time, DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane says he intends to ask the president to commit to various deadlines when responding to issues including Nkandla.

Maimane said the opposition party will use the opportunity to address a number of issues which gridlocked parliamentary proceedings last year.

"We want to ask Zuma to explain to the people of South Africa why unemployment levels are on the rise and we also want him to answer nuclear questions."