ANC ties itself into Nkandla knots

The ANC's second most powerful decision-making body, its national executive committee (NEC), discussed the Nkandla scandal during its weekend meeting, party secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Monday, but it was the "shortest item on the agenda".

Officially the NEC "noted" that it should stay out of the way of "processes that need to be given a chance, like the pending report of the president expected in due course, and progress on the work of the Special Investigating Unit [SIU]".


Zuma must, according to recommendations by public protector Thuli Madonsela, report to Parliament by Wednesday on her report that he and his family unduly benefited from nearly R250-million in government spending on Nkandla.

The SIU is investigating the upgrades to the Zuma family compound, with a focus on recovering state money that was paid to, but not due to, suppliers.

But in briefing media on the outcomes of the NEC meeting, a soon exasperated Mantashe found almost all questions dealing with Nkandla and the ANC's response to Madonsela's findings. Such single-minded focus, he said, "gives me a view about the quality of reporting", suggesting that the media was hyping the scandal.

He also berated the media for accepting Madonsela's report at face value.

Lack of action
Mantashe found it tough to reconcile the ANC's general policy positions with its determined lack of action on Nkandla.

In a section of its report on the NEC meeting, the ANC said the body had "affirmed and re-committed itself to high levels of public accountability and the protection of independent institutions created by our Constitution".

Asked how that could be reconciled with the statements of some ANC structures and groups on Madonsela and her office – established by chapter nine of the Constitution – Mantashe seemed unaware of the nuance of those statements, then jokingly accused journalists of heckling him.

Asked how a commitment to public accountability matched with a failure to act against Zuma, who failed to provide documents and answers questions put to him by Madonsela, Mantashe described that as an "allegation", then said he was not familiar with the questions Zuma had not answered, and then said Zuma may have been "dealing with the issues, not refusing to answer".

Mantashe also said the ANC had decided, "in hindsight", that arranging a promised media tour of Nkandla in the interests of transparency would amount to interference with ongoing processes and investigations – as would calling Zuma to account through disciplinary proceedings.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Phillip De Wet
Guest Author

Related stories

Durban city manager says NPA erred in his bail conditions

The corruption-fraught metro is coming to grips with having a municipal manager who is on bail for graft, yet has returned to work

Does the Expropriation Bill muddy the land question even further?

Land ownership and its equitable distribution has floundered. Changes to a section of the constitution and the expropriation act are now before parliament, but do they offer any solution?

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

Eusebius McKaiser: Reject the dichotomy of political horrors

Senekal shows us that we must make a stand against the loud voice of the populist EFF and racist rightwingers

The demon of cronyism in the public service must be crushed

When employees do not give their best, it is the organisation that suffers the most. In the case of government this directly affects citizens

Mbalula’s war with military vets belies the Prasa disaster

The transport minister uses humour, which his targets don’t find funny, to survive in tough times or to divert attention from a problem.
Advertising

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Air pollution link in 15% of global Covid-19 deaths

Researchers have found that, because ambient fine particulate air pollution aggravates comorbidities, it could play a factor in coronavirus fatalities

Mboweni plans to freeze public sector wage increases for the...

The mid-term budget policy statement delivered by the finance minister proposes cutting all non-interest spending by R300-billion.

SAA to receive R10.5-billion government bailout after all

Several struggling state-owned entities received extra funds after the medium term budget policy speech

BMW X3 thrives in the M stable

The compact SUV is so at home with its new badge that’s it’s surprising it didn’t happen sooner
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday