Parliament adds Nkandla judgment to rules review list

President Jacob Zuma and parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete. (Ashraf Hendricks, M&G)

President Jacob Zuma and parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete. (Ashraf Hendricks, M&G)

Parliament has agreed to study the implications of the Nkandla judgment to see whether it requires changes in the legislature’s rules, the speaker’s office said on Thursday.

Speaker Baleka Mbete conceded that there was a need to “unpack” the ruling — which found President Jacob Zuma and the National Assembly had flouted the Constitution — and agreed to consider calls by opposition parties to establish a committee to determine whether the president had misled the chamber.

“We have indicated the need to unpack the judgement with a view to highlighting issues that need the consideration of Parliament. This will include how Parliament should process, among others, reports of chapter 9 Institutions,” her office said in a statement.

The Constitutional Court found last month that Zuma and the National Assembly had failed to uphold their constitutional obligations by not following a binding directive from Public Protector Thuli Madonsela that the president reimburse the state for luxuries added to his private home at Nkandla.

In the wake of the judgment, the Democratic Alliance brought a motion to have Zuma impeached. Mbete dismissed suggestions that a committee needed to be established to determine whether the president’s conduct constituted a grave violation of the supreme law that merited impeachment.

Instead the motion was put directly to a vote last week and roundly defeated thanks to the ANC’s strong majority.

Mbete is reliably understood to have based her decision on the fact that the current parliamentary rules do not insist on a committee process.

In the statement, her office said however: “There may be issues that necessitate rules review.
To the extent that this is necessary, the current review process will be broadened to deal with these matters.

“Issues that the Parties have raised in writing with the Speaker are receiving consideration. These include requests for a disciplinary process against the President; ad hoc committee to investigate whether the President misled the House.” – African News Agency (ANA)

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