DA hesitant to seek legal action
The DA has promised to consult its legal representatives but it is hesitant to take court action just yet. Maimane said that they were going to wait for the consideration from Nkandla Ad Hoc Committee before making a decision on how to proceed.
“We will first exhaust all parliamentary processes before we consider going to court,” said a DA spokesperson.
The DA explained that if they go to court, the State will use taxpayers’ money to fight to protect the President from being held accountable.
“While we [the DA] will be using our own money to ensure that the President is held accountable,” said a spokesperson.
Nhleko presented his findings on the Nkandla report on the 28 May 2015, and found that President Zuma is not liable for any of the upgrades to his private residence at Nkandla.
The Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, noted that Nhleko gave the matter his best and that he applied his mind to the issues at hand.
But the public protector hit back that there were shortcomings with the report.
Madonselasaid that even the most benevolent of governments are made up of people with all the propensities for human failings.
“The rule of law as we understand it consists in the set of conventions and arrangements that ensure that it is not left to the whims of individual rulers to decide on what is good for the populace. The administrative conduct of government and authorities are subject to scrutiny of independent organs,” said Mandonsela.
These shortcomings are partly due to the fact that Nhleko is a member of an executive, whose members, including his supervisor, are among the public functionaries found to have acted improperly in the report, said Madonsela.
Last year the Western Cape High Court ruled that the Public Protector’s findings on the Nkandla Report cannot be ignored. However, that seems to be what has happened.
Madonsela’s main problem with the report was that Nhleko claimed in his report that “no public funds was used to build the President’s house(s)” (sic).
Madonsela said that this could not be further from the truth.
“According to paragraph 10.10.1.1. of the Public Protector’s report: ‘President Zuma told Parliament that his family had built its own houses and the state had not built any for it or benefited them. This was not true. It is common cause that in the name of security, government built for the President and his family at his private residence a Visitor’s Centre …’” said Madonsela in a press release.
The DA agreed with this, stating that they had determined that the President is liable for at least an amount of R52.9 million for the non-security upgrades to his private home in KwaZulu-Natal.
“In addition to this amount, the President further remains liable for the tax on the fringe benefit received from the upgrades,” said Maimane.
The DA believes in a society that values freedom, fairness and opportunity where no one, including the President, can escape responsibility for their actions.
“We will therefore continue to fight to see that the President Zuma pays what is owed,” said Maimane.
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