DA calls on parliament to reject Zuma's 'Nkandla reprimand letters' to Cabinet ministers

The Parliament Buildings in Cape Town, with a bust of the late former president Nelson Mandela in the foreground. (David Harrison, M&G)

The Parliament Buildings in Cape Town, with a bust of the late former president Nelson Mandela in the foreground. (David Harrison, M&G)

The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Monday called on Parliament to reject “reprimand letters” sent to three Cabinet ministers by President Jacob Zuma over their roles in the Nkandla debacle, saying the letters were an “insult to the gravity of the situation”.

Last month the Constitutional Court ordered, among other things, that Zuma reprimand the Cabinet ministers involved with the Nkandla saga that saw about R250-million of tax payers’ money, much of which was squandered on non-security upgrades that included a swimming pool and an amphitheatre.

In the letter to the ministers, Zuma states that the Constitutional Court had affirmed the public protector’s directive that “I am required to reprimand the ministers involved in the Nkandla project”.

He ends off by stating that pursuant to this: “I hereby deliver the reprimand required. I am doing so to each of the ministers indicated by the report.”

However, DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen said: “The letters were an insult to the gravity of the situation and are a clear indication that the President remains uncommitted to fully acknowledging the level of misconduct which was displayed by these Ministers. Such a half-hearted attempt at a reprimand simply cannot be accepted by Parliament.”

Steenhuisen said: “Parliament now has a golden opportunity to re-establish its reputation, and to show that it is not a rubber stamping institution, by examining the content of these letters.

“It is our contention that the letters do not go far enough in terms of holding the ministers to account for their actions, by publicly admonishing them, or by showing the intention of ensuring that such actions never occur again.”

On Sunday, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the letters of reprimand sent to Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi and former police minister and now Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa and former Public Works Minister Geoff Doidge were “a joke” and did not constitute a reprimand in the normal understanding of the word.

In the three identical letters Zuma refers to “the public protector’s report on the investigation into allegations of improper or irregular conduct relating to the security upgrades at Nkandla”.

Apart from having to reprimand the ministers, the Constitutional Court also ordered Zuma to pay for non-security upgrades once the amount was determined. – African News Agency (ANA)


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