Red tide high­lights real is­sue

CityPress - - Voices -

There are many ques­tions that arose af­ter the chaotic scenes seen in Par­lia­ment this week. Th­ese in­clude why the Economic Free­dom Fighters (EFF) be­haved the way it did, as well as if there were other op­tions the party could have used to make its point with­out re­duc­ing Par­lia­ment to a joke.

And per­haps more im­por­tantly, what did the party achieve? Did its mem­bers’ an­tics get Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma to ac­tu­ally ac­count and give sub­stan­tial an­swers to all the Nkandla ques­tions? The an­swer is no.

De­spite their drama and in­ter­rup­tions to get Zuma to com­mit to pay­ing back the money, that did not hap­pen. In­stead, Zuma avoided an­swer­ing more ques­tions and got to leave even be­fore the Na­tional Assem­bly was fin­ished with its busi­ness. So the log­i­cal ques­tion is: was all the drama an ex­er­cise in fu­til­ity?

We don’t think so. The heart of the mat­ter here is Zuma’s ap­par­ent re­fusal to ac­count to the Public Pro­tec­tor, who made damn­ing find­ings against him, in­clud­ing that he had ben­e­fited from ren­o­va­tions to his home. Thuli Madon­sela said he should pay back a rea­son­able per­cent­age of the cost in­curred by the state for el­e­ments that don’t re­late to se­cu­rity at the es­tate, such as the pool, am­phithe­atre and cat­tle kraal.

Last week, Zuma re­leased a 20-page re­sponse to Par­lia­ment in which he said Madon­sela’s re­port was no more im­por­tant than that of the Spe­cial In­ves­ti­gat­ing Unit and a gov­ern­ment task team re­port. Most of the re­port con­sisted of a sum­mary of the dif­fer­ent re­ports, ex­cept at the end, where Zuma made a rec­om­men­da­tion that the po­lice min­is­ter re­port to Cabi­net on a de­ter­mi­na­tion on whether he is li­able for any con­tri­bu­tion in re­spect of the se­cu­rity up­grades.

This re­sponse was char­ac­ter­is­tic of how Zuma ob­fus­cates, post­pones, fudges, de­lays and ul­ti­mately es­capes any re­spon­si­bil­ity for a mat­ter that af­fects him. The so-called re­sponse rep­re­sented an­other de­fer­ral to an­other struc­ture. He was again show­ing the mid­dle fin­ger not only to the Public Pro­tec­tor but to the na­tion. As Zuma took to the stage in Par­lia­ment on Thurs­day to lull us to sleep with words that did not amount to an­swers, what the EFF did was make us fo­cus on the real is­sue.

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