'Parliament can't blindly accept Madonsela's Nkandla report'
An ANC MP says Thuli Madonsela’s report into the Nkandla spending debacle has misled the country.
CAPE TOWN - African National Congress Member of Parliament (MP) Mathole Motshekga says Parliament cannot blindly accept the Public Protector's reports because that is not what the Constitution envisages.
Ruling party parliamentarians claim Thuli Madonsela's report into the Nkandla spending debacle has 'misled the country'.
They agree that the cost of the project to secure President Jacob Zuma's private homestead was 'grossly inflated', but they disagree Zuma benefited unduly and should be held accountable.
The party is pushing for the officials and contractors involved in the project to take the fall, including Zuma's architect Minenhle Makhanya.
Following a busy week that included an in loco inspection of the president's homestead and lengthy deliberations, Parliament's ad hoc committee has concluded its work in KwaZulu-Natal.
On Thursday, ANC MP Mathole Motshekga gave MPs a tutorial about what the Constitution said about chapter 9 institutions.
"Imagine if the Constitution had envisaged that we blindly accept the report of chapter 9 institutions? What would have happened in the light of what we saw? We would have adopted a resolution, saying the president must pay back a certain amount for things that are not there."
Motshekga, as chairperson of the Justice Portfolio Committee, has sparred with Madonsela on a number of occasions in Parliament.
Meanwhile, Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko is expected to explain why a letter from a police superintendent appears to confirm there is a link between Zuma's Nkandla home and the construction of costly houses for security personnel.
The parliamentary ad hoc committee will recall the minister to answer questions about the letter and other issues related to the spending fiasco.
The 2009 letter, written by the superintendent to officials from the Department of Public Works, showed the president requested the removal of police members from his property.
The ANC said the R135 million housing project, on the outskirts of Zuma's property, was not part of the security bill.
The letter goes on to say that to cater for the needs of those officers, bachelor flats had to be added to a document outlining what had to be done on the property.
Chairperson of the ad hoc committee, Cedric Frolick, said one of the reasons why the police minister was being called again was to provide clarity on the letter.
"What were the communications lines, for instance, with the president? And since when does a divisional commissioner represent the president in terms of putting letters together and then referring to the name of the president? We must be very, very careful before we say there are serious allegations against the president."
At the same time, MPs also want Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi to appear before the committee next week.
They have until 7 August to complete their assessment.
But opposition parliamentarians have been pushing for Madonsela, Zuma and his architect to also appear before the committee.
DA FIGHTS BACK
Democratic Alliance Chief Whip John Steenhuisen says, "I can see what the tactic is here. It's to shut this down as quickly as possible; not bring players before the committee who are not in control of Luthuli House and of the presidency. That's why we know we're going to get the Minister of Public Works and the Minister of Police back."
Last year, Madonsela found the president unduly benefited from non-security installations, which formed part of a R246 million project to upgrade his home.