Zuma says he com­plied with pub­lic pro­tec­tor report on Nkandla cost

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - CRAIG DODDS

PRES­I­DENT Ja­cob Zuma has com­plied fully with the re­me­dial ac­tions re­quired by the pub­lic pro­tec­tor in her Nkandla report, he says in an af­fi­davit.

Re­spond­ing to an ap­pli­ca­tion by the DA for it to be granted di­rect ac­cess to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court in the event the EFF’s sim­i­lar ap­pli­ca­tion is granted, Zuma said he had com­plied and con­tin­ued to com­ply with Thuli Madon­sela’s “Se­cure in Com­fort” report.

He said her in­struc­tion he should, with the as­sis­tance of the Na­tional Trea­sury and the po­lice, de­ter­mine the rea­son­able por­tion of the costs of non­se­cu­rity items for him to re­pay re­quired the in­volve­ment of third par­ties other than him­self.

“This means that it is per­mis­si­ble (or ‘ra­tio­nal’ to use the DA’s word) for other ef­forts to be ini­ti­ated and op­er­ate in re­sponse to the report – and in­deed for the rea­sons al­ready given it is nec­es­sary to do so if the re­me­dial ac­tion of the pub- lic pro­tec­tor is to be ra­tio­nally and fairly im­ple­mented,” Zuma said.

This jus­ti­fied his in­struc­tion to Po­lice Min­is­ter Nathi Nh­leko to de­ter­mine whether or not he should re­pay any of the R206 mil­lion spent on Nkandla. Part of de­ter­min­ing the rea­son­able por­tion had to in­clude a con­sid­er­a­tion of which mea­sures con­structed by the state at Nkandla did not re­late to se­cu­rity, Zuma said.

“It is, in my sub­mis­sion, rel­e­vant to the very is­sue of a ‘rea­son- able por­tion’ whether such ex­pen­di­ture was not se­cu­rity-re­lated as op­posed to prime fea­tures of se­cu­rity,” the pres­i­dent said.

At the heart of the dis­pute lies the ques­tion of whether Nh­leko’s report on Nkandla rep­re­sents a “par­al­lel process” to Madon­sela’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The Supreme Court of Ap­peal and Western Cape High Court have ruled that an or­gan of state may not in­sti­tute a par­al­lel process and ac­cept its find­ings in place of those of the pub­lic pro­tec­tor. Nh­leko found the items spec­i­fied by Madon­sela as be­ing non- se­cu­rity re­lated – the vis­i­tor’s cen­tre, am­phithe­atre, cat­tle kraal and chicken run and swim­ming pool – were se­cu­rity items.

Ac­cord­ing to Nh­leko, this meant there was noth­ing for the pres­i­dent to re­pay.

The DA, EFF and other op­po­si­tion par­ties con­tend Madon­sela had al­ready made a find­ing that these were not se­cu­rity fea­tures and Zuma could not sub­sti­tute Nh­leko’s ver­dict for hers.

In a re­ply­ing af­fi­davit to Zuma’s, chair­man of the DA fed­eral ex­ec­u­tive James Selfe said this find­ing was con­tained in the body of Madon­sela’s report and “(if) she re­quired a re-de­ter­mi­na­tion of the is­sue, her re­me­dial ac­tion would con­flict with the find­ings made and recorded in the body of the report”.

Madon­sela has made it clear she does not be­lieve Zuma has com­plied with her re­me­dial ac­tions, writ­ing to him three times in an at­tempt to get him to do so.

In a me­dia state­ment in May she also dis­missed Nh­leko’s report, say­ing it con­tained “mis­state­ments, in­ac­cu­ra­cies, in­com­plete in­for­ma­tion, in­nu­en­dos and false ac­cu­sa­tions” re­lat­ing to her in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The Con­sti­tu­tional Court has yet to de­cide whether it will grant the EFF’s ap­pli­ca­tion for di­rect ac­cess, which is based on its claim Par­lia­ment failed in its con­sti­tu­tional duty to hold Zuma to ac­count and Zuma failed in his con­sti­tu­tional duty by not im­ple­ment­ing Madon­sela’s re­me­dial ac­tion.

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