Nkandla: ANC & opposition still at odds over Zuma's liability

The ANC is pushing for officials and contractors to take the fall, including architect Minenhle Makhanya.

The Presidency hosted a media visit to Jacob Zuma's residence in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Parliament's ad-hoc committee on Nkandla has entered the final leg of its lifespan, but the ANC and opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) are still at odds over the president's financial liability.

In her report released last year, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found President Jacob Zuma benefited unduly from the non-security features, which formed part of the R246 million project to upgrade his private homestead in Nkandla.

But the police minister responded with his own findings that Zuma doesn't have to repay a cent.

Last night, opposition MPs tried to convince the ANC to allow Madonsela and several other people to answer questions about the scandal but the ruling party used its majority to squash their proposals.

Democratic Alliance Chief Whip John Steenhuisen warned this scandal is not going to die down.

"This is a sore on our political body in South Africa. It bedevils everything we do, from Parliament to the public debate."

But ANC MP Mathole Motshekga was unwavering.

"So there's no need, I can repeat, for her to appear before us. There's no other value that she can add."

Last week after the committee had concluded its inspection trip to the president home, Motshekga said Parliament cannot blindly accept the Public Protector's reports because that is not what the Constitution envisages.

Ruling party parliamentarians claim Madonsela's report into the Nkandla spending debacle has misled the country.

They agree that the cost of the project to secure Zuma's private homestead was grossly inflated, but they disagree that 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.

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 that 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.

The committee has until next week Friday to report back to the National Assembly on its assessment.