Discussion in parliament of ad hoc committee’s approval of Police minister’s report on Nkandla

2015-08-18
Dr Corné Mulder

The Nkandla issue is not just about the financial advantaging, or not, of the person, President Jacob Zuma. The actual consequences touch on the essence of South Africa’s society. The full speech of Dr. Corné Mulder, chief whip of the FF Plus and member of the parliamentary ad hoc committee which investigated the Nkandla issue, follows below.

What is the Nkandla saga all about? It is about whether the President had been advantaged or not? Alas, it is about much more. It is about basic constitutional principles, about the powers and competencies of constitutional institutions. It is about the essence of a body politic which is supposed to be transparent and accountable. It is about what is right and wrong, about corruption and fraud. It is about collective amnesia.

It is about R246 million clearly paid taxpayers money. It is a lot of money, especially in a country with enormous poverty and unemployment.

That amount was not spent to improve an official presidential residence, like the former Groote Schuur or the White House of the USA, which will be used by consecutive presidents. No, this amount was spent on so-called security measures at the President’s private residence. When President Zuma’s term comes to an end in 2019, it remains there to the advantage of himself and his family.

After the ad hoc committee had paid a visit to Nkandla last month, the ANC members are now suddenly in agreement that there had been a huge inflation of prices with regards to contracts, that the state had been robbed on a large scale and that serious corruption had taken place. The guilty people have to be brought to book. It is however the same ANC members who refused to allow the Public Protector to be heard or that one single witness, other than the two ANC ministers be called, during all three ad hoc committees which had been set up about this matter. No witness, who isn’t under the strict control of the ANC caucus or Luthuli House was allowed near any of the processes. The ANC, the mighty national liberation movement is scared of one women – The Public Protector.

Does this speak of a serious search for the truth or does it attest to a desperate attempt to defend the absolute indefensible at all costs?

From a multitude of reports the facts shout it out clearly and unambiguously. There is no doubt that the President and his family had been improperly advantaged in this whole process. R206 million has already been spent on the house of the President, as well as on other buildings and facilities within a radius of less than one kilometre from the homestead. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to realise that if the state spends R246 million on buildings and facilities in and around my home and in a direct radius of 1 kilometre from my home, that I will definitely be advantaged by it. There is not one single building or facility that has been constructed which is not directly linked to the fact that the owner of the house is currently the President of the country.

Did President Zuma know what was going on here? The answer is an unequivocal “yes”. On 4 December 2009 the story broke in the media: “Zuma’s R65 million Nkandla splurge”. This was continuously followed up by questions posed to the President in Parliament in 2010 and 2011, to try and establish the truth. The Public Protector asked 29 pertinent questions at the President in writing. Up to today the President has chosen to totally ignore 18 of those questions.

Here is a simple question for the President. Did you at any time make enquiries about the costs of the project, which was conspicuously extensive and high? And if not, did you never feel it your duty as Head of State to make enquiries about this, as it was clear that substantial amounts of taxpayers money were being spent?

Do not for one moment expect to find justice or an honest answer about the truth with regards to Nkandla where the ANC has a majority. It will not be found there.

 

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