25 November 2012

South Africa: Reconvene Parliament to Establish a Parliamentary Inquiry Into 'nkandlagate'

press release

Reports today reveal that skeletons continue to tumble out of President Zuma's Nkandla closet. It is now without doubt that 'Nkandlagate' has resulted in such a serious crisis of accountability for the Presidency, that it warrants urgent action by Parliament. This is supported by what is clear prima facie evidence that President Zuma misled Parliament when he attempted to defend the project during questions to the President.

I will therefore request a meeting with Speaker Max Sisulu to ask that he reconvenes Parliament, which is still in session until 9 December 2012 so that a special parliamentary inquiry can be established by the National Assembly. Misleading parliament and the very serious nature of this scandal would fully justify the Speaker taking such drastic action.

It cannot be acceptable that President Zuma told Parliament on 15 November 2012 in response to my question that he was personally covering the costs, and that government departments were responsible only for the security upgrades. Documents in possession of the City Press show that:

• President Zuma was indeed aware of the upgrades and the details of the upgrade, and specifically, that some of the projects were clearly not for security. This includes a cattle culvert, a tuckshop, and a guesthouse. He told Parliament he did not know the details, and that it was merely for security.

• Questions remain over whether President Zuma had a bond that he was paying off. His office has promised to hand over the documents to an independent agency, but this has yet to happen.

This inquiry must establish the extent of the President's involvement in this scandal, summon all the relevant personnel and documentation for information, and accordingly provide the National Assembly with recommendations on the basis of its findings, specifically over whether Parliament was misled.

This misuse of public money is not only in violation of the Executive Ethics Act, but it is clear evidence that President Zuma puts his own and the enrichment of politically connected individuals above the interests of South Africans.

Parliament cannot have its integrity violated without any response. The Speaker is empowered to reconvene Parliament. I urge him to do so without any delay.

Lindiwe Mazibuko, Parliamentary Leader of the Democratic Alliance

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