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Nkandla: DA to proceed with arguments before the ConCourt (03.02.2016)

DA 03.02.2016

These are the remarks delivered at a press conference held in Parliament. The Leader was joined by the Chairperson of the DA’s Federal Executive, James Selfe MP, and DA shadow Minister of Justice, Adv Glynnis Breytenbach MP.

The DA, after taking legal advice, has decided to proceed with presenting our Heads of Argument before the Constitutional Court scheduled for Tuesday, 09 February 2016. In so doing we will be seeking the relief outlined in our Notice Of Motion.

The DA notes the settlement offer made by President Zuma but contends that the contents of his settlement offer do not comply with the remedial actions as ordered by the Public Protector in her report entitled Secure in Comfort. In fact, we contend that the President designating the Auditor-General (A-G) to come to a determination as to how much he is liable is the latest attempt to establish a parallel process, for a fifth time.

Specifically, the DA will argue that President Zuma’s failure to engage rationally with the Public Protector’s findings and remedial action pertaining to him was manifestly irrational, illegal and unconstitutional. We furthermore contend that the President’s decision to substitute the remedial action ordered by the Public Protector with a determination by the Police Minister, SIU or Parliament  on whether he was liable for any of the costs was illegal and unconstitutional.

Legal precedent at present, as established by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), is very clear that “an individual or body affected by any finding, decision or remedial action taken by the Public Protector is not entitled to embark on a parallel investigation process to the of the Public Protector, and adopt the position that the outcome of that parallel process trumps the findings taken by the Public Protector.”

Furthermore, should an affected body or individual seek to challenge the findings and remedial actions of the Public Protector they should do so by way of a review application in a court of law. The President to date has not done so; he has instead frustrated the work of the Public Protector by way of erecting parallel processes, which have no legal basis.

Legal certainty about the powers of the Public Protector, and the force and effect of remedial action taken by the Public Protector, are vital to the successful functioning of our constitutional democracy. That is why the Democratic Alliance (DA) took the SABC and the Minister of Communications to court when they disregarded the remedial action ordered by the Public Protector to suspend Mr Hlaudi Motsoeneng, and to institute disciplinary proceedings against him.

It is clear that the President Zuma has deployed a contingent of Ministers and ANC Members of Parliament to defend the indefensible act of constructing a palace at the expense of the people of the Republic. Those doing the President’s bidding have even gone as far as ignoring Court judgements in order drive a political agenda, despite swearing in their oath of office to uphold the Rule of Law and the Constitution of the Republic. Now before the highest Court in the land, we are confident that the Constitutional Court will bring the Nkandla matter to its logical conclusion by determining that President Zuma do what the Secure in Comfort report by the Public Protector ordered; which is that he pay back a reasonable percentage of the costs of the non-security upgrades to his private residence.

For too long President Zuma and the ANC have abdicated their responsibility to uphold the Rule of the Law and the Constitution, but have done everything to undermine to the work of the Public Protector and the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court will, on Tuesday, consider this matter in order to provide legal certainty about the Public Protector’s powers. The law has been developed in some degree in the Schippers judgment, confirmed by the SCA and that the Constitutional Court will rule definitively on the matter.

Nkandla 3

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Press Release: Finalisation and adoption of the AD HOC Committee Report in Nkandla, South Africa (06.08.2015)

Nkandla 3

The parliamentary ad hoc committee set up to consider the Police Minister’s report on the security upgrades at the President’s private residence today finalised and adopted its report – which will be tabled for consideration by the National Assembly. The National Assembly directed the ad hoc committee to conclude and report on its work by 7 August 2015.

The committee expressed satisfaction that the reports of both the police minister and public works complied with the recommendations of the 2014 ad hoc committee. The police minister’s report, in particular, gives a thorough and accurate picture of the state of affairs regarding the upgrades at Nkandla and was helpful during the course of the committee’s in loco inspection. Contrary to the opposition political posturing, the report of the police minister was never intended as a replacement for any other investigative report on Nkandla, but was intended to provide a full account of the implementation of the recommendations of the previous ad hoc committee.

The ad hoc committee found in its report that South Africans were misled about the so-called opulence at the private residence of the President and that there was a gross exaggeration of the scope, scale and cost of the project. Through the corrupt collusion of officials and private contractors, the prices were grossly inflated and the shoddy workmanship as well as poor quality facilities do not correlate with the amount of money paid. There is general consensus that those responsible for deviation from the PFMA should be held accountable and the money must be recovered from those found guilty of these transgressions. We are pleased that efforts are currently underway to ensure that all implicated in corrupt conduct are pursued legally and all the monies are recouped.

The committee has recommended that the portfolio committees on public works, police and the standing committee on intelligence must ensure continuous monitoring of corrective actions to be taken by the relevant national departments. The committee also recommended that the relevant departments and law enforcement authorities ensure the expeditious conclusion of civil, criminal and disciplinary matters.

It is unfortunate that the opposition sprung the so-called minority report, which is similar to the DA document it submitted to the committee when it started. Their claim that they participated in good faith therefore rings hallow, as their report is a proof that their minds were already made up even before the ad hoc committee could start with its business.

The opposition has repeatedly claimed that the ad hoc process was illegal and unconstitutional. This is despite the establishment of the committee process itself being the consequence of the demand by the opposition to Parliament following the release of the police minister’s report.

The minority report of the opposition does not only undermine the thorough work that the committee had undertaken, it also undermines the contribution they made during the process. The report, for instance, contradicts the frank contributions they made following the inspection visit at the private residence of the President.

The EFF’s decision to take the matter relating to the Nkandla security upgrades to the Constitutional Court is a right that any person or party enjoys under our constitution, and we are hopeful that it would bring to an end unnecessary disruptions and sloganeering in the National Assembly. We are hopeful that contesting the matter in Court would do them good, as Courts make judgment on the basis of facts, evidence and cogent legal arguments, not sloganeering, rowdiness and stunts which the EFF has become synonymous with.

We reaffirm the legal and constitutional legitimacy of the ad hoc committee. It would have been a gross dereliction of constitutional duty if Parliament failed to initiate a process to formally consider the report of such national importance.

ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF THE ANC CHIEF WHIP

 

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