The ANC’s chief whip, Stone Sizane has confirmed that an ad-hoc committee will be re-established in order to consider president Jacob Zuma’s response to the Public Protector’s report on his Nkandla homestead.
“The president notified the speaker per letter when he was attending the Brics conference that he will deliver a comprehensive letter to parliament on his return. We are waiting for it now. As soon as we receive it, Parliament will establish the committee,” Sizani announced on Sunday after the ANC lekgotla.
The previous ad-hoc committee, formed to discuss the matter of the president’s Nkandla home, was disbanded on the 7th of May, just before the 2014 elections. The president had since committed to formulating a response and reporting back, with the deadline being last week. He, however, failed to respond by the deadline, which he proposed, writing to the speaker saying that he was in Brazil at the Brics summit and therefore would not be able to respond on time. The president drew a large amount of criticism for his failure to respond during the debate on the Presidency’s budget, as everyone expected him to comment on the matter.
In the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela’s report, titled Secure in Comfort, the Public Protector and her task team commented that they found that the president had unduly benefited from the upgrades to his homestead in Nkandla and that a portion of the upgrades should be repaid by Jacob Zuma immediately.
The controversy shrouding the upgrades of the president’s homestead in Nkandla stems from the fact that the upgrades were commissioned at R27 million, but somehow the cost escalated to upwards of R247 million, of which the taxpayer contributed the majority.
The upgrades have since been investigated by the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, the Justice, Crime prevention and Security cluster of cabinet and the Special Investigating Unit.
The president committed to responding within one month, stating that he would provide the Public Protector with a “comprehensive and final report” within 30 days.
The deadline for response was mid-July, but the president has since stated that he prefers to wait until the Special Investigating Unit have completed their report before commenting.