The African a National Congress has come out fighting from the two major political shake ups from last week, accusing the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela and Economic Freedom Fighters leader, Julius Malema of working together against the democratically elected president, Jacob Zuma. The call was made by the Secretary General of the ANC, Gwede Mantashe on Thursday, saying that the timing of the ‘leaking’ to the media of Madonsela’s letter to the media to come out at the same time as the fracas caused by the EFF members of parliament when they shouted for the President to ‘pay back the money’ in parliament last week was questionable.
Things came to a head last week when, while attempting to answer Malema’s questions in parliament, President Zuma could not be specific about when he would repay the money as per the recommendations of the Public Protector. In her report called ‘Secure in Comfort’, Thuli Madonsela concluded after her investigation that the President and his family had benefitted in an improper way from the state when, in addition to the security upgrades to their Nkandla home, some additions were also built. There was a swimming pool, kraal and a visitors’ residence that was also added.
Madonsela made a recommendation that the President should repay part of the R246 million to the state. In his response to parliament, Jacob Zuma said that he had instructed the Police Minister Nathi Nhleko to investigate how much if any, he had to repay to the State. This is what riled the leader of South Africa’s newest opposition, Malema, who demanded that the President be more specific and tell the House the specific date when he would make the payment to the State. This then deteriorated into a shouting contest between the two, with the EFF members of parliament ending up shouting ‘ pay back the money’, which resulted in the plenary session being adjourned. As if that was not enough for the President, a few days later, the press published a letter that the Public Protector had written to the President. In the strongly worded seven page letter, Madonsela demanded the same answer as the EFF, when he would pay back the money. In addition, the Public Protector demanded that the President respond to her letter within two weeks.
In his accusation, Mantashe said that there was evidence that Malema and Madonsela were working together to discredit the ANC and the President of the Republic. He added that the country’s top advocate, just like Malema, was undermining the powers of the House of Assembly when she said that Zuma had not responded to the Nkandla report when parliament had not yet made that determination.