President Zuma today claimed that he did “nothing wrong” in the Nkandla scandal, where over R246 million of public money was spent upgrading his private home in Nkandla. This is nothing more than last minute damage control before the elections on Wednesday and it is blatantly misleading.
The Public Protector made it clear that he violated the Executive Members Ethics Act, had tacit knowledge of the upgrade, unduly benefited from it, and failed to answer a number of key questions when asked to explain why.
Indeed, the facts of the Public Protector’s Report are clear:
President Zuma tacitly accepted the implementation of all measures at his residence and has unduly benefited from the enormous capital investment from the non-security installations at his private residence.
The President failed to apply his mind to the contents of the Declaration of his private residence as a National Key Point and specifically failed to implement security measures at own cost as directed by it or to approach the Minister of Police for a variation of the Declaration.
His failure to act in protection of state resources constituted a violation of paragraph 2 of the Executive Ethics Code, and accordingly, amounts to conduct that is inconsistent with his office as a member of Cabinet, as contemplated by Section 96 of the Constitution.
As the ultimate upholder of the values of the Constitution and custodian of public funds, it was in the Public Protector’s opinion that he ought to have interrogated the need for measures that were clearly non-security.
President Zuma failed to answer 18 key questions put to him by the Public Protector, which were essential to determining his part played in the scandal. This included refusing to hand over a copy of his bond.
In doing so, together with delays on the part of the state, the report was delayed by more than a year.
If President Zuma did nothing wrong, as he unjustifiably claims, then why did he not provide Parliament with a full explanation – as he was expected to do – 14 days after receiving the report?
Furthermore, if he was open to scrutiny on this matter, then why did his party go to such great lengths to shut down the ad hoc committee which was established to consider Nkandlagate?
The DA accepts that the President of the Republic is entitled to genuine security for his protection and that of his family, but Nkandla is not an example of this. This was an exorbitant expenditure on non-security benefits to the President, with his knowledge and his failure to act to prevent it.
The reality is that President Zuma is nervous ahead of the polls that his conduct at Nkandla will cost his party votes. He has every reason to be.
The ANC under Jacob Zuma cannot be taken seriously about fighting corruption when the President himself refuses to answer for a scandal of this magnitude.
On Wednesday, South Africans have a chance to tell President Zuma that they want jobs and services for millions, not chicken runs and cattle kraals for a few. They can do this by voting for the only party serious about fighting corruption and creating jobs.
A vote for the DA on 7 May is a vote that will put South Africans first again.
Lindiwe Mazibuko, Parliamentary Leader of the Democratic Alliance
Source : Democratic Alliance