South African president, Jacob Zuma, has submitted his full response with regards to the Nkandla reports to parliament on Thursday, according to spokesperson for the presidency, Mac Maharaj.
“The report has been prepared with due consideration of the following reports: the report of the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI), the report of the Public Protector, titled, ‘Secure in Comfort,’ and the progress report in terms of the Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act, submitted by the head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU),” Mr Maharaj said in a statment issued on Thursday.
The full report submitted by Jacob Zuma is available on the Presidency’s website as of this evening, due to the fact that the webpage was unavailable temporarily, as it allegedly crashed.
In Zuma’s response, he places the onus on the newly appointed Minister of Police, Nkosinathi Nhleko, with regards to determining whether or not he is liable for the costs and if so, what portion should be repaid by him. In his response to the reports, President Zuma instructs Nhleko, “To report to cabinet on a determination to whether the president is liable for any contribution in respect of the security upgrades, having regard to the legislation, past practices, culture and findings contained in the respective reports.”
In his response, Zuma also requested that the Department of Public Works must review the procedures currently in place regarding state money being spent on prestige projects. He also mentioned that he strongly objects to the continued conflation of the security upgrades with the building of houses for security guards on the property, apparently due to the fact that the houses are only necessary because of the fact that his homestead is in a rural area.
This comes after President Zuma declined to comment on the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela’s, report on the R246 million upgrades to the president’s home in Nkandla within the two weeks recommended by the Public Protector’s office. He stated that he would give response to the 400 page document only when the SIU had compiled their report in full and submitted it. In her report, Madonsela strongly recommended that the president repay a portion of the upgrades due to the fact that both he and his family had unduly benefited from them. No funds have been repaid to date.