The DA will today, in the National Assembly, table a motion for the re-establishment of the Nkandla Ad-hoc Committee.
It is high time that Parliament takes a stand against the numerous delays which President Zuma has caused in this matter, and which he continues to cause.
As of today, the Public Protector’s report is 132 days old, and yet it is still to receive a full and comprehensive reply from the President.
It is absolutely not acceptable that President Zuma continues to delay, while South Africa remains in the dark on findings that he unduly benefitted from the Nkandla upgrades in the amount of R246-million.
The position of the DA has been, and continues to be, that a committee of Parliament must consider the report, any reply that the President may have, and the suitable sanctions for any wrongdoing found.
In the fourth Parliament it was the DA who petitioned the Speaker of the National Assembly to establish an ad hoc committee to consider the submissions of the President in response to the Public Protector’s report. The then-Speaker, Max Sisulu, announced such an ad-hoc committee on 09 April 2014.
This fifth Parliament must continue that work, and must not be stalled by President Zuma’s apparent access to endless leniency.
On 04 June 2014 the President submitted to the Speaker of the National Assembly a written undertaking to provide the Speaker with his full and comprehensive reply to both the Public Protector’s Nkandla Report, and the Special Investigations Unit Nkandla Report, within 30 working days, being 16 July 2014.
No such full and comprehensive report was produced by President Zuma on 16 July 2014
Therefore, on that day the DA wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly. Deputy Speaker Tsenoli replied on 18 July 2014 that instead of a full and complete report from President Zuma, he had instead received a letter from the President reasoning that the report could not be submitted as the President was abroad, in Brazil, over the 16 July 2014 deadline, attending the Soccer World Cup final, and the BRICS summit.
The President also committed to the Deputy Speaker that he would submit the final and comprehensive report upon his return to South Africa.
Again, President Zuma failed to do as he had undertaken, and no such report was submitted upon his return.
To date, President Zuma has failed to meet his own deadlines, has failed to act expeditiously and has failed to take the nation into his confidence on this matter of fundamental importance.
Equally, with this disregard for self-imposed deadlines, the President has demonstrated a contempt for playing by the rules and therefore there can be little confidence that the full and comprehensive report from President Zuma is anywhere close to being submitted to Parliament.
For this reason, the DA believes that no further delay is acceptable, and that the ad-hoc Committee must be re-established urgently.
Once established, this committee can then use the Rules of Parliament to set a deadline for the President to submit his report, or to appear before the committee in person.
Specifically, Rule 138 of the National Assembly Rules would empower the ad-hoc committee to summon any person to appear before it to give evidence on oath or affirmation, or to produce documents. That would include the power to summon the President.
Therefore, in the National Assembly at 15h00 today, the DA will move a motion to establish an Nkandla ad-hoc committee, to consider the submissions of the President in response to the Public Protector’s report, to consider the report of the Public Protector itself, to consider the report of the Special Investigating Unit, to consider all other relevant information or submissions, and to make recommendations, where applicable.
The DA has noted the ANC’s commitment to reconstitute this committee after President Zuma provides his written reply to Parliament. But this commitment is not time-bound and is therefore open-ended.
Likewise, there currently is no deadline for the President to submit his reply, and the current trend of feet-dragging is only bound to continue.
The only pronouncement from President Zuma to date on the damning report of the Public Protector is a letter acknowledging receipt of the report and calling the upgrades at Nkandla “the norm” for a President.
The DA believes that until such time as a full and comprehensive reply is provided by President Zuma, the office of the Public Protector is being purposefully undermined by the office of the President, which contravenes section 181 of the Constitution.
This sections reads:
181(2) These institutions are independent, and subject only to the Constitution and the law, and they must be impartial and must exercise their powers and perform their functions without fear, favour or prejudice.
(3) Other organs of state, through legislative and other measures, must assist and protect these institutions to ensure the independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness of these institutions.
For this reason, as a further action step, the DA will consider launching a Court application to compel the President to submit his full and comprehensive response, so as to end this unconstitutional undermining of the Public Protector. This will become necessary should our motion today to establish the Nkandla ad-hoc committee not see immediate outcomes.
South Africa deserves full accountability on the wrongdoing found by the Public Protector at Nkandla.
Until such time as an ad-hoc committee of Parliament is established, President Zuma may continue to undermine Parliament with broken promises and missed deadlines.
Today’s motion in the National Assembly must send a g message that the DA will not rest until the wrongdoing at Nkandla is brought to book.
Mmusi Maimane, Parliamentary Leader of the Democratic Alliance
Source : Democratic Alliance