Zuma's reprimand of ministers described as a joke

Opposition parties have dismissed the manner in which Zuma reprimanded ministers involved in the Nkandla saga.

FILE. President Jacob Zuma answers questions in Parliament. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Opposition parties have dismissed the manner in which President Jacob Zuma has reprimanded the ministers involved in the Nkandla saga as a 'joke' and 'pure nonsense'.

The president has sent letters to Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi, his predecessor Geoff Doidge and former Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, indicating that he is required to reprimand them for what Public Protector Thuli Madonsela termed the 'appalling manner in which the Nkandla project was handled.'

Zuma was ordered by the Constitutional Court to do what the Public Protector directed him to do more than two years ago when she released a report on the abuse of state funds.

Madonsela found Zuma benefited unduly from the non-security features which formed part of the R246 million project to upgrade his private home in rural Kwa-Zulu Natal.

In three identical letters sent to the ministers who were involved in the over-spending, Zuma tells them he is delivering the reprimand required.

The letters are scant on detail.

A copy of the reprimand letter sent by President Zuma to Public Works Minister Thuli Nxesi. The same letter was sent to former Public Works Minister Geoff Doidge and former Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane says the letters show that Zuma doesn't want to hold anyone accountable.

"I would have expected the president to have written a letter that was much stronger, that has consequences."

United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa says, "He's not telling us how is he reprimanding them, there's nothing. This is pure nonsense."

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) maintains Zuma should have stepped down after the country's highest court found he violated the Constitution.

Member of Parliament (MP) Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says Zuma has lost the power to reprimand.

"You can't, after breaking the Constitution, go and reprimand people for breaking the law. It's contradiction, why should they be listening to you?"

Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko, who compiled a report exonerating the president of financial liability for the Nkandla upgrades, has not been sent a letter of reprimand.

His report contradicted that of the Public Protector's.

Meanwhile, Deputy Public Works Minister Jeremy Cronin has said he doesn't believe that Nxesi is guilty in terms of anything relating to the Nkandla saga.

"Our reading of the Public Protector's report and the Constitutional Court judgment was that the references to the public works minister were explicitly to the previous public works minister, Geoff Doidge. Clearly the president and his legal advisors have had a different view."

To read the full statement from the Presidency, _ click here_.

To read the full judgment by the ConCourt on Nkandla, _ click here_.