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No parly committee recommended that Zuma should #PayBackTheMoney

2016-03-07 18:09

None of the three parliamentary ad hoc committees on Nkandla said President Jacob Zuma must pay for a portion of the Nkandla upgrades.

Stone Sizani, who until last week was the ANC’s chief whip in Parliament, said on Friday that two ad hoc committees instructed Cabinet to determine a “reasonable amount” for the president to pay for the renovations to his home in KwaZulu-Natal.

In an interview on Power FM Sizani responded to allegations that he had done a “somersault” after he was quoted in Friday’s Mail & Guardian as saying the ANC’s parliamentary caucus always wanted Zuma to pay a portion of the cost.

“They must read the reports of the ad hoc committees because we have been consistent that the Cabinet must quantify what the Public Protector was saying is a reasonable amount that the president must pay. Where is the somersault in that, because we have never said that the president must not pay,” he said on Power FM.

Media24 has since gone through each of the committees’ reports with a fine-tooth comb. In none of the reports did any of the committees recommend that Cabinet be instructed to determine the amount that Zuma must pay.

Media24 tried to contact Sizani to explain his statement, but his mobile phone was off today. He also didn’t reply to a text message.

In March 2014, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela made her report on Nkandla public. In it, she said Zuma must pay back a “reasonable portion” of the costs of the non-security upgrades at Nkandla. Since then, Parliament has established three ad hoc committees on Nkandla.

The first made no findings because the committee was disbanded in May 2014 without being able to complete its work due to a lack of time before the 2014 national elections and the subsequent establishment of the fifth Parliament.

The second committee, which completed its work in November 2014, challenged the findings made against the president by the Public Protector. The committee also found that the Public Protector was not entitled to determine that some improvements were not for security purposes because she wasn’t a security expert.

The closest that the committee came to Sizani’s statement was to say that the committee recommended that the matter of what constituted security and non-security upgrades be referred back to Cabinet for determination by the relevant security experts. As a result, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko conducted his Nkandla investigation and found that Zuma did not have to pay a cent for the renovations, because the swimming pool, visitors’ centre, amphitheatre, cattle kraal and chicken run were safety features.

The third ad hoc committee, which completed its work in August 2015, accepted Nhleko’s report and endorsed its findings. By doing so, the committee absolved Zuma and endorsed the decision that he did not have to pay.

On August 18 last year, the National Assembly adopted the committee’s report with an overwhelming ANC majority of 198 votes against 93 votes. This was Parliament’s final word on the Nkandla debacle.


Second ad hoc committee

Key findings

1. The president did not request the improvements;
2. He influenced no one to act in an irregular or corrupt manner;
3. There was no evidence that he had violated the Executive Ethics Act; 
4. The Public Protector’s finding that Zuma failed to act to protect state resources was incorrect because he did institute actions and ordered the special investigations unit to investigate Nkandla;
5. The Public Protector was not a security expert and could not say some improvements were not for security purposes;
6. The Public Protector could not find that Zuma had violated sections of the Constitution because only the Constitutional Court could make that finding;
7. No finding was made that Zuma had been “unduly enriched” from the upgrades; and
8. Officials from the department of public works had violated several tender regulations and rules.

Key recommendations

1. Zuma must decide whether ministers who were involved in the Nkandla project should be punished;
2. Strong action should be taken against state officials who violated rules and regulations;
3. Zuma should ensure that all the recommendations in his own report were carried out and should report back to Parliament within three months;
4. The Cabinet should get security experts to conduct an investigation at Nkandla to determine which upgrades constituted security measures and should report back to Parliament within three months;
5. The National Key Points Act and Cabinet’s policy of 2003 should be reviewed; and
6. The police should investigate security at Nkandla and report back to Parliament within three months.

Nhleko’s Nkandla report

Findings

  1. The “fire pool”, cattle kraal, chicken run, amphitheatre and visitors’ centre were strategic and essential safety measures;
  2. The president was a South African, and was entitled to the same rights as any other citizen;
  3. Most structures and task teams that independently investigated the security upgrades did not share a common definition of what constitutes security features and its relevance;
  4. The project management process was not properly organised and coordinated;
  5. Former investigations had sought to question the credibility and integrity of professionals and experts in their relevant fields; and
  6. The extent of the investigations and the “intrusion” into the president’s private residence led to a violation of his rights.

Recommendations

  1. The president was not liable to pay for any costs associated with the security upgrades;
  2. The incomplete security measures should be funded and completed as soon as possible. These included strengthening the firefighting equipment by the procurement of additional fire hoses, fire hydrants and another pump; and
  3. The current security measures should be reassessed.

Nathi Nhleko's report


Final ad hoc committee report

Key findings

1. South Africans were misled by the opulence of the president’s Nkandla residence;
2. There was a gross exaggeration of the scope, scale and cost of the project;
3. The workmanship was shoddy and of poor quality;
4. Security at Nkandla was inadequate and work hasn’t been completed;
5. Processes were under way to ensure that all those implicated in wrongdoing were pursued and faced the full might of the law.

Key recommendations

1. The executive should ensure that all necessary steps were taken to ensure safety of the president and his family;
2. The portfolio committees on public works and police, as well as the standing committee on intelligence, should ensure that the relevant national departments took corrective action as determined by the previous Nkandla committee;
3. The relevant departments and law enforcement agencies should ensure the civil, criminal and disciplinary hearings are completed timeously;
4. The report of the minister of police should be adopted; and
5. The report of the minister of public works should be adopted.
First committee report

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