Date set for response to Public Protector on Nkandla report

Posted On Thursday, 12 June 2014 16:46 Published by
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President Jacob Zuma informs National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete that he will give a comprehensive response to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's damning Nkandla report within 30 working days.

Jacob Zuma

Mr Zuma earned the ire of opposition parties shortly before the May 7 election when he said he would only respond to the report which found he and his family had benefited from the nonsecurity aspects of the R246m upgrade to his property after the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) had completed its probe of the spending.

The opposition accused Mr Zuma of avoiding a response for fear that it would influence the national elections.

Mr Zuma's letter was tabled in Parliament yesterday. He told Ms Mbete that he had received the provisional report of the SIU and would give a comprehensive response to the Nkandla spending within 30 working days.

African National Congress chief whip in the National Assembly Stone Sizani welcomed Mr Zuma's letter saying: "This assurance, made in a letter to the speaker, is consistent with an earlier undertaking made by the president that a comprehensive response to the public protector's report would be made once all other reports on the matter have been considered."

Democratic Alliance MP James Selfe said Mr Zuma's letter was an indication of long overdue progress in the Nkandla saga.

But he referred to aspects of concern in Mr Zuma's reply. "The president only speaks of his intent to produce a 'comprehensive and final report within the next 30 working days'. He has not made a definite commitment to the deadline and could presumably indicate that he needs more time at a later date, prolonging the matter even further."

This scenario would mean that if a new ad hoc committee on the president's submissions were to be established, then Ms Mbete would take the decision, Mr Selfe said. "Recently, Speaker Mbete's reluctance to establish a new committee has been clearly visible."

He said he had written to Ms Mbete challenging her assertion that it was up to the National Assembly to establish a new ad hoc committee to consider the Nkandla matter.

"The DA will continue to fight for the establishment of this committee and finally find out who knew about the R246m upgrades to the president's private residence."Mr Sizani supported Ms Mbete's position."We believe that the speaker's response is sensible and logical. Indeed the speaker does not have the power in terms of the rules of the assembly to establish a committee of that nature while Parliament is in session.

"Only a full sitting of the assembly can take such a decision. The speaker is only empowered to establish such a committee if the National Assembly is in recess," Mr Sizani said.

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