It appears that the drama concerned with the Nkandla report is here to stay. This emerged on Thursday when it was shown that the Ad hoc Committee on the Nkandla saga received a number of letters informing it of various issues concerned with the upgrades to president Zuma’s Nkandla home. This includes a letter from a group that says it wants to settle whatever the president owes while another different group has also written to the House expressing its ire at the way the Public Protector is conducting her business. Still, the Public Protector has also written to the parliamentary committee offering to address them on the issue of Nkandla.
At the meeting of the ad hoc committee, which was set up to consider reports of four institutions which include the Public Protector as well as the Special Investigations Unit on Thursday morning, it emerged that at least three letters had been received from different bodies regarding the Nkandla issue. The first letter to be read was from a group calling themselves the Public Members Unit Team, which has offered to pay any amount that will be deemed to be due from the president. The group further criticized the way the Nkandla issue had been handled and has called on all opposition political parties to desist from criticizing the president but should instead focus on the group itself. According to this KwaZulu Natal based group, this will ensure that the members of parliament will, from now on focus on service delivery instead on taking every opportunity to demonize the president regarding this issue. They added that they also hoped that the opposition parties would find something else, which they would use to try and attract members of the public to their parties. They consequently called on the Public Protector to finalize the amount that is due from the president from the upgrades that are considered to be non security so that they could pay the amount. The Mail and Guardian could not, however get in touch with the signatory to the letter and chairperson of the group, Vumelani Mchunu. In response to the letter, the chairman of the Nkandla Committee, ANC MP, Cedrick Frolick, said the letter could not have any meaningful bearing on the work of the committee as they were only dealing with official reports. In support of this view, ANC MP Mmamoloko Kubayi added that, “Parliament has no mandate in terms of what the letter says, we note it but we must move on.”
Still another group calling itself the “Concerned Lawyers and Educationists for Equality before the Law,” has also offered to pay what the president will be said to owe. The group has also criticized the work of the Public Protector, saying that it was littered with flaws, errors and inexcusable inaccuracies despite the fact that she had taken all of three years to put together the report. The group of ten lawyers from KawZulu-Natal, led by a Zuma loyalist, Comfort Ngidi is also recommending the dismissal of Thuli Madonsela as the Public Protector, accusing her of being reckless in the way she deals with the country’s number one. In an eighteen page document, the lawyers, who claim to be self funded, have accused Madonsela of contributing to the downgrading of the country by international agencies. The Ad hoc committee has resolved to forward the lawyers’ letter to the speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete as it feels that it does not have the power to deal with the matter.
The committee also received a letter from the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, offering to address the committee on the contents of her report. However, the committee felt that the information contained in the four reports before it were enough for their purposes. The chairman of parliament’s Justice Committee through which Madonsela reports, senior ANC MP and former chief whip Mathole Motshekga has criticized the request by Madonsela to address the ad hoc committee despite the fact that she has a right to do so according to Section 8 of the Public Protector Act.