President Jacob Zuma’s letters of reprimand to ministers involved with the Nkandla project have been deemed “useless” and called a joke by opposition parties.
Last week, Zuma sent letters reprimanding three officials for their role in the Nkandla saga, as ordered by the Constitutional Court.
Letters were sent to public works minister, Thulas Nxesi, a former minister in the same department, Geof Doidge, and former police minister, Nathi Mthethwa.
This is what the letters contained:
Public Protector’s report on the investigation into allegations of improper or irregular conduct relating to the security upgrades at Nkandla
Reference is made to the above report of the Public Protector. This is accessible at (the Public Protector’s website).
Acting in terms of the powers vested in her in terms of section 182 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 read with the public Protector Act, 1994 and the Executive Members’ Ethics Act, 1998, the Public Protector investigated allegations of improper conduct or irregular expenditure relating to the security upgrades at my private residence in Nkandla.
The Constitutional Court has affirmed the direction by the Public protector, among others, that I am required to reprimand the Ministers involved in the Nkandla project, for what the Public Protector termed “the appalling manner in which the Nkandla Project was handled and state funds were abused” (Para. 11.1.3). The full judgement is accessible (on Saflii’s website).
Pursuant to the letter, I hereby deliver the reprimand required. I am doing to so each of the Ministers indicated by the report.
Mr Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma
President of the Republic of South Africa
According to Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane, the letters are a joke.
“The letters are a joke, and do not constitute a reprimand by any normal understanding of the word,” Maimane said in a statement on Sunday.
“The letters reinforce President Zuma’s arrogant refusal to accept that he did anything wrong. The letters do not specifically reprimand the Ministers for their involvement in this unacceptable abuse of public funds, and for their role over the course of several years in trying to hide facts and shield the President from accountability.”
Maimane said the reprimand should have been specific in nature – specifying what each Minister did wrong. He said the DA’s legal team was looking at the notes, saying that Zuma is mistaken “if he thinks this will draw a line under the matter”.
Nkandla remedial action TBA
Work is continuing to implement the remedial action in the sage, the presidency said in a statement on Friday – however, it made no mention of what action was being taken against the officials, if any.
“The payment of a reasonable percentage of the cost of the measures will be done after the National Treasury has made a determination. The National Treasury is currently seized with the matter,” it said.
The Constitutional Court ruled last month that Zuma was liable to pay for some of the upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, which came to over R246 million, paid for the by the taxpayer.
The court ruled that the president and the National Assembly had violated the Constitution when it disregarded the Public Protector’s report in to the matter, instead rubber-stamping a SAPS report absolving the president of any wrong-doing.
Over 100 ANC MPs signed off on the report.
Source: Business Tech