3 February 2016

South Africa: Zuma's Nkandla Proposal 'Nothing New', Says Legal Advisor

President Jacob Zuma's proposed settlement in the Nkandla matter was nothing new, said his legal advisor Michael Hulley in a YouTube video on Wednesday afternoon.

In the footage posted on the Presidency's YouTube page, Hulley said, "This is not a new approach that has been adopted... The president both in answering questions in Parliament coupled with his address, has always said he will abide by the process... where the variants have been is... what the process must be and who would be engaged in that process," he said.

Hulley said Zuma had asked the Constitutional Court to refer the matter to the auditor-general as well as an official at the national treasury to assist in terms of how much he would have to pay back for non-security upgrades at his private residence.

"This has been a consistent approach the president has adopted,"said Hulley, adding that Zuma had always complied with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's directive.

How much to pay back

"He set out to Parliament that he would compose a mechanism to determine those issues [relating to Nkandla]. Likewise in filing those papers in the Concourt in November 2015, he alluded to the fact the he had not at any stage failed to comply with the Public Protector report."

Hulley said in the same Concourt papers, Zuma had proposed to all the parties and courts respectfully that the auditor-general coupled with an official from the national treasury would be the best independent persons to determine the amount that should be paid back.

This follows Zuma's announcement in a statement late on Tuesday that his lawyers had written to the Concourt proposing a settlement in the Nkandla matter.

He asked the court to consider making an order that the auditor-general and the finance minister determine what percentage he should pay back.

Meanwhile Madonsela said she welcomed Zuma's willingness to engage in terms of her recommendation that he pay back public money. She did not, however, give her stance on Zuma's proposal other than to say she would file her formal response in the Concourt in due course.

She said she had met with her office and legal team on Wednesday to consider Zuma's statement.

Source: News24

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