Nkandla committee adopts report

Ministers Nathi Nhleko and Thulas Nxesi. (David Harrison, M&G)

Ministers Nathi Nhleko and Thulas Nxesi. (David Harrison, M&G)

The committee dismissed a proposal from opposition parties that rejects the findings in Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s report and states that the President and his family benefited unduly from the upgrades.

On Thursday, the committee met to consider a proposal from the ANC and anothers from opposition parties on findings and recommendations, and when they could not find middle ground, the ruling party MPs voted in their suggestions.

The rejected opposition parties’ report included observations that the president had unduly benefited, there were improvements that were not security related, including but not limited to the swimming pool, amphitheatre, the larger cattle kraal, visitors centre, extensive paving and the relocation of neighbours. But their bid to include the observations failed when they were outvoted seven to three by the ruling party.

Defending the opposition parties’ submission, Freedom Front Plus MP Corne Mulder said there was no rule that said they were not allowed to add or speak about anything outside the drafted report. “We are absolutely within our right to put in the table what we have done. We all feel very strongly about this report in its entirety,” he said.

Inkatha Freedom Party MP Narend Singh said there was no way they were going to put pen to paper and say the president did not benefit from the upgrades to Nkandla, which led to talks of possible “divorce” between the ruling party and opposition parties as they could not agree. After they were outvoted, the committee accepted the report that recommends that both Nhleko and Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi’s reports be adopted.

The report also recommends that the executive ensure that all the necessary steps were taken to ensure the safety of the president and his family were not compromised. “The committee recommends that the relevant department and law enforcement authorities ensure the expeditious conclusion of civil, criminal and disciplinary matters,” the report states.

After it was finalised, the office of the ANC chief whip said it was unfortunate that the opposition parties sprang their “minority report” on the committee on Thursday. “It ... is similar to the DA document it submitted to the committee when it started.
Their claim that they participated in good faith therefore rings hallow, as their report is a proof that their minds were already made up even before the ad hoc committee could start with its business.   

“The opposition has repeatedly claimed that the ad hoc process was illegal and unconstitutional. This is despite the establishment of the committee process itself being the consequence of the demand by the opposition to Parliament following the release of the police minister’s report,” spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said it in a statement. He said the rejected report not only undermined the work of the committee, but the contribution of the opposition during the Nkandla ad hoc committee process.   

The adopted report will be tabled in Parliament by Friday.

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