Nkandla: Zuma stands his ground
The president said he never dodged questions and will wait for the Police Minister’s report on Nkandla.
CAPE TOWN - After a sustained campaign and mounting calls from opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) for the president to answer questions on Nkandla, Jacob Zuma has flatly denied any personal wrongdoing or obligation to repay the money spent on his KwaZulu-Natal home.
There were tense scenes but no police in Parliament yesterday, where the president took questions in the National Assembly for the first time since Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members were removed by security officers during his State of the Nation Address.
The stumbling block was whether Zuma should respond to questions he didn't answer last August.
Opposition MPs wanted assurances that a date would be set for him to return to the house to reply to those questions.
Perhaps the most dangerous moment for the session was right at the beginning when EFF leader Julius Malema refused to accept Speaker Baleka Mbete's ruling, as she said he couldn't ask Zuma questions from last year's session.
Eventually MPs were able to put it to the president that he had dodged questions.
His reply was one filled with anger, "This Parliament did not act honorably to me. They stopped me from answering questions. I never dodged questions."
WATCH: Zuma - I have never dodged questions in Parliament
Zuma says the Public Protector's findings on Nkandla are recommendations and not judicial rulings, adding that he will not pay back the money until the Police Minister has decided whether he should, and if so, how much.
He says minister Nathi Nhleko will issue his report on the question at the end of this month.
"But the determination has not been done. Why do you say I should pay the money when you don't even know how much, you don't even know whether the final answer will be that I should pay back the money."
WATCH: Zuma: I'm not going to pay back the money
Speaking after the session, Malema explained that his MPs are now able to gage when Mbete is about to have them kicked out.
"We pull back a little bit, and then she calms down. Then we go back to the same points that we're raising at that point when she became emotional. So it looks like the going out of this Parliament is going to be a thing of the past."
He says when the speaker becomes emotional, she acts irrationally.