Nkandla committee will 'rubber-stamp' Nhleko's report

Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. (Madelene Cronje, M&G)

The day before the site visit on Wednesday, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko will discuss his 50-page report with the committee, which found that the kraal, swimming pool, amphitheatre and visitors’ centre could all be counted as security upgrades.

Political analyst Daniel Silke said it appeared the committee were preparing to “rubber stamp” the report.

“All we are seeing is they are simply trying to look as though they are taking the report seriously and looking to perhaps portion some blame to those who have been singled out in the report,” he said.

“This is the way in which the Parliamentary committee can look as though they are more involved. Effectively the report has taken the work out of their hands, there is not much left for them to do other than to monitor the after effects of the report. I don’t think there is going to be any original contribution from the Parliamentary committee.
They will be largely guided by the findings of the report,” said Silke.

Giggling, sweating

An anxious-looking Nhleko first presented the report on May 28, giggling and sweating though the presentation, which also included video demonstrations of the fire pool and the cultural significance of the chicken run and kraal.

According to the report, the fire pool was the best water source available at Nkandla to replenish fire engines while the kraal had significant spiritual and cultural value that extended beyond the storage of animals.

This is the only report that will be presented to the committee regarding the Nkandla upgrades, after calls from opposition parties to include public protector Thuli Madonsela’s findings and other reports fell flat last month.

Silke said the exclusion of all other reports on Nkandla was due to a fundamental conflict between Madonsela’s report, which found the president and his family had benefitted unduly from the upgrades, and Nhleko’s, which absolved Zuma of any wrongdoing.

“There will be no incentive for the ANC members of the committee to rock the boat or contribute anything fresh.”

Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said all parties have already taken positions on the Nkandla matter and they would just be using the oversight visit to confirm their views.

“The results of this committee will be the same as the last one, with slight variations. If anyone went into the committee thinking that the president should not pay back any money, they will be going to cement their views, while those who think he is guilty and should be paying back some money will be going there to confirm their long-held views. I think people have already taken up positions on the matter before the visit.”

DA challenge

The Democratic Alliance on Sunday said they would use the opportunity presented by the oversight visit to challenge the police minister’s report.

“We will use this opportunity to oppose the police minister’s exoneration of the president from any and all accountability, and fight to have the remedial actions ordered by the public protector enforced. While the DA will not be party to the rubber stamping of the police minister’s report, it will participate on the committee as part of a robust undertaking to have the report invalidated,” said leader Mmusi Maimane.

“To this end the DA’s participation on the committee in no way condones the report by the minister of police which we contend is fraught with credibility issues, at odds with constitutional principles and is therefore irrational. Our primary focus this week will be to challenge Minister Nhleko’s report on the grounds that it lacks legal standing and cannot invalidate the remedial actions ordered by the public protector, Adv Thuli Madonsela, in her report entitled Secure In Comfort, he said.

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