CAPE TOWN – PARLIAMENT’s ad hoc committee considering Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s report exonerating President Jacob Zuma from responsibility for the Nkandla controversy, was receiving a full-day briefing from the minister on his findings on Tuesday.
Parliamentary spokesman Temba Gubula said the briefing was taking place at the KwaZulu-Natal legislature in Pietermaritzburg.
The committee is on a two-day fact-finding mission that will see them visiting Zuma’s private homestead in Nkandla, a rural backwater in KwaZulu-Natal, on Wednesday morning before returning to Cape Town.
In May, Nhleko released a report that found — in direct contradiction to the earlier report of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela — that all features added to the homestead served a security purpose and that the President therefore did not have to repay the State for any part of the R246 million project.
This included a swimming pool, which the minister’s report described as doubling up as an essential fire pool.
Opposition parties have slated the report, but most are so far still participating in the committee. They boycotted an earlier ad hoc committee after the ANC majority refused to concede that Madonsela’s findings were binding in law.
James Selfe, the chairman of the Democratic Alliance’s federal council, said the ministerial briefing delivered nothing he had not heard before but he was heartened by indications that members of the committee were about to given reports by the police on security features at Zuma’s home that informed Nhleko’s report as well as documents from the department of public works.
“This might prove very useful,” he said.
Madonsela had found that Zuma benefitted unduly from the project and directed that he reimburse the state for luxuries added to the property.