Nathi Nhleko said he would not consider the Nkandla matter yet, as it is in the hands of Parliament, ad "it must still be handled in Parliament".
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko has not yet started determining whether President Jacob Zuma should pay back part of the money spent upgrading his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal, Beeld reported on Wednesday.
He reportedly told the publication on Tuesday that he would not consider the Nkandla matter before the parliamentary processes had been completed. “The report of the president is currently in the hands of Parliament and it must still be handled in Parliament,” he was quoted as saying.
“Only after Parliament completes the process and accepts a resolution over the report, will I investigate the Nkandla matter in terms of the police portfolio.”
In her report on the R246-million spent on security upgrades at Nkandla, public protector Thuli Madonsela indicated the president needed to repay all non-security related expenses at Nkandla.
Zuma deflected a decision on whether he should repay any of the money spent at Nkandla to Nhleko, instructing him to report to Cabinet on the matter. Parliament has begun setting up an ad hoc committee to consider Zuma’s response to the Nkandla controversy.
Plans to ‘assault’ EFF MPs
Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) accused the ANC of organising a group to assault its MPs in Parliament on Wednesday. Party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said that the party had learned of a “clear plan” by the ruling party to “disrupt Parliament and render its work dysfunctional”.
“The Economic Freedom Fighters has learned that the ANC is mobilising hooligans in the townships of Cape Town to come and assault EFF MPs today in Parliament,” Ndlozi said. “The EFF has learned that they are loud-hailing across the townships, promising people free buses to go to Parliament and deal with the EFF.
“It means the ANC is planning to undermine the very Parliament that it claims to protect and respect.”
Moloto Mothapo, spokesperson for ANC chief whip Stone Sizani, rubbished the claim. “It’s becoming clearer and clearer everyday that they are losing it. They are obviously imagining things, and this is a figment of their imagination,” he said.
“Probably it is some sort of propaganda gone wrong on their part. They really have to come with something better if they want to be taken seriously. We have got no time to waste on the EFF.”
Not intimidated by Zuma’s ‘henchmen’
A war of words between the EFF and the security cluster of ministers heated up on Tuesday, following a meeting over the chaos in Parliament last week Thursday. National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete suspended the house after EFF members started banging on their hard hats shouting “we want the money” and “Nkandla must be paid”, asking security to remove the rowdy members.
The justice, crime prevention, and security cluster condemned the action of the EFF MPs. The cluster, led by Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, said extraordinary measures had been put in place to prevent a repeat of the incident.
On Tuesday night, Ndlozi said the security cluster had no business interfering in Parliament’s processes because it was part of the executive. “The doctrine of the separation of powers enshrined in our constitutional democracy prescribes that the executive, which is all appointed by the president, must respect Parliament,” he said in a statement.
He said that Parliament was capable of running its business, and there was never a need for the police to be called or for security measures to be tightened. “The EFF will not be intimidated by a group of employees and henchmen or women who serve at the pleasure and discretion of President Zuma,” said Ndlozi.
He went on to say that the EFF was proud and made no apology for its “peaceful protest action” in Parliament last Thursday. He added that EFF MPs had the right to be in the chamber and hold the executive accountable without any fear or favour.
“If the ANC security cluster wants to arrest us, teargas us, or shoot to kill us, then let it be. The EFF is ready for any form of violence because no amount of war talk, no amount of intimidation will deter it from robustly raising issues and holding the executive accountable.” – Sapa and staff reporter