The National Assembly votes to establish ad hoc committee

Opposition MPs have raised concerns that the committee will simply act as a rubber stamp.

A view of the homestead of South African President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - The National Assembly has voted to establish an ad hoc committee to consider Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko's report on the Nkandla spending debacle, despite objections from opposition parties.

Opposition MPs have raised concerns that the committee will simply act as a rubber stamp.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the Public Protector's report on the spending debacle should also be considered.

He added that the President should be called to answer questions.

"The fundamental reason why this ad hoc committee cannot be the same whitewash as it was the last time; it has to be that the president must come to Parliament to account."

But his proposal was rejected when put to a vote.

After an attempt at filibustering, the majority members in house voted 192 to 103 to establish the committee.

Nhleko assessed all of the features installed at President Jacob Zuma's private home in KwaZulu-Natal

and concluded they are all there for his security.

The features included a swimming pool and visitor's centre.


Earlier today, the DA said the president would never be allowed to wreck Parliament.

During a debate on the legislature's budget vote, the opposition described Zuma as a one-man wrecking ball of institutions of democracy like the Public Protector.

Last week, Zuma mocked opposition MPs for harping on about the Nkandla spending debacle instead of making meaningful contributions to debate.

DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen has responded to the President's mockery with a stinging rebuke.

"The president criticised members of this Parliament for not being able to pronounce certain words. Well here are some words he struggles to say let alone pronounce properly 'accountability, transparency, responsibility, ethics, I am guilty, here is the money South Africa I am paying it back'."

Party leader Mmusi Maimane says the committee should call the president to account.

"Let's never surrender Parliament to the executive. Let us not surrender Parliament to the one man wrecking ball who is President Jacob Zuma. I ask that Parliament treat this ad-hoc committee as an opportunity to reclaim accountability."

Steenhuisen says Zuma has become a jester in his own court.

"Barely a week ago the president stood at this podium and mimicked 'Nkandla'. It was a welcome relief from his usual line which was 'hungers, hungers' but it undermined his credibility and authority and trivialised the issue."

Earlier ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani criticised opposition MPs for showing disrespect and resorting to name calling during debates.