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Zuma’s reprimand letters ‘lack content & explanation’

Analysts say Zuma’s letters to ministers involved in Nkandla could damage his public reputation further.

FILE. President Jacob Zuma during the debate on President Jacob Zuma's Annual Address to the National House of Traditional Leaders held at Tshwane Council Chambers in Pretoria on 7 April 2016. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Political analysts say President Jacob Zuma's letters of reprimand to ministers involved in the Nkandla saga lack content and explanation, which could damage his public reputation further.

Copies of the letters have been doing the rounds on social media.

They simply say that Zuma has delivered the reprimand as per the Constitutional Court order.

Opposition parties have come forward saying the letters are a joke and pure nonsense.

Analyst Tinyiko Maluleke says these letters won't help Zuma regain the public's confidence.

"Such an approach certainly does not help build up the confidence that he has lost and it doesn't help people believe that he intended to comply fully and show his goodwill."

Independent analyst David Monyae says Zuma needs to take this seriously.

"The letters are not really seriously thought-out, are not quite clear and then the president in this instance has no choice, he has to take this quite seriously."

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.

OPPOSITION PARTIES CALL FOR FIRM ACTION

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

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

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

Member of Parliament Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said 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.