/ 25 August 2014

Nkandla ad hoc committee takes shape

An ad hoc committee has been formed to look into public protector Thuli Madonsela's report on upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's homestead
An ad hoc committee has been formed to look into public protector Thuli Madonsela's report on upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's homestead

The ANC has deployed a formidable team of President Jacob Zuma’s allies to the ad hoc committee that will interrogate public protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on the multi-million rand upgrades at Zuma’s Nkandla’s home, and his response to the matter. 

The ANC announced it will nominate Cedric Frolick to chair the committee. He also chaired the initial ad hoc committee that was established to investigate the upgrade just before the May 7 general elections.

Frolick is viewed as a fair and objective house chairperson by opposition parties, and was known to be close to former speaker Max Sisulu in the fourth Parliament. 

On Monday, former ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga, a well known adversary of Madonsela, said it was not up to her to decide if Zuma’s response to her Nkandla report was adequate or not.

Motshekga, who has had frequent clashes with the public protector, said it should be the job of the ad hoc committee to assess his response.

Motshekga referred to Madonsela’s handling of the Nkandla saga as “disrespectful” to Parliament and said Madonsela should refrain from engaging in extra-parliamentary processes.    

The ANC has also nominated deputy chief whip Doris Dlakude to be a member of the ad hoc committee.

She was also a member of the committee that was established before the elections and she played hard ball alongside her comrades. She first delayed the committee’s work by requesting extra time to read the documents and then later proposed that the inter-ministerial task team report, which had cleared Zuma of any wrongdoing, also be considered alongside the report of the public protector and the Special Investigations Unit. 

Risks of earthquakes, rape and flooding 
The ANC is expected to insist on this again when the new committee convenes. The initial task team had found that a high risk of earthquakes, volatile politics and high levels of rape in the Nkandla region were some of the reasons behind the upgrade to Zuma’s home. 

“In terms of natural hazards, Nkandla can be susceptible to strong earthquakes [at] an average [of] one earthquake every 50 years, with occurrences at five to six [on the] Richter scale. While there is a medium to low risk of periods with extreme drought, the risk [of] flooding is also very high,” stated a report of parliament’s joint standing committee on intelligence, which was based on information the committee received from the task team. 

Francois Beukman, former executive director of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, former ANC deputy chief whip Mmamoloko Kubayi, Beatrice Ngcobo and Lindiwe Maseko complete the ANC team. 

“The list we have recommended to the Speaker is composed of very capable individuals with parliamentary experience, political expertise and legal know-how necessary to the issue the ad hoc committee is mandated to consider”, said the party in a statement.

“The office of the ANC chief whip is confident that the following capable individuals will assist the ad hoc committee and Parliament to achieve its objectives.”

Freedom Front Plus’s Corne Mulder and the Inkatha Freedom Party’s Narend Singh will represent the smaller parties, while the Economic Freedom Fighters are expected to deploy their leader, Julius Malema, to the committee. 

The National Assembly resolved to re-establish an 11-member ad hoc committee to consider the Nkandla upgrades last Tuesday. The committee is scheduled to report back to the sitting of the House no later than October 24 2014.