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Casac: Zuma showing contempt for Parliament

2014-08-25 10:03
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma's failure to account properly on the Public Protector's report on his Nkandla homestead shows contempt for Parliament, the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac) has said.

"The president’s failure to account properly, and fully, to Parliament, specifically in relation to the Public Protector’s report on Nkandla, has shown a contempt for Parliament and, therefore, for the Constitution," it said in a statement issued on Sunday.

"The president should be allowed to complete his answers to the questions that had been tabled for answer on 21 August, and to respond to any supplementary questions in the National Assembly. This should be arranged as soon as practicable."

Casac said it met at the weekend to discuss Zuma's response to the reports on the R246m security upgrades to his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela had recommended in her report that Zuma repay part of the money.

Madonsela: Zuma second-guessing recommendations

She reportedly said to Zuma in a recent letter that he was second-guessing the recommendations she made in her report.

In his reply to her report, Zuma indicated Police Minister Nathi Nhleko needed to determine if he should pay back any of the money spent on security upgrades at the homestead.

"I am concerned that the decision you have made regarding the police minister gives him power he does not have under law, which is to review my decision taken in pursuit of the powers of administrative scrutiny I am given... by the Constitution," she wrote in a letter to Zuma.

The office of the African National Congress chief whip said on Sunday that Madonsela should respect Parliament's handling of the Nkandla saga.

"The public protector ought to respect the process that is currently underway in Parliament and refrain from engaging in extra-parliamentary processes," spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said in a statement.

"Our view is that, rather than directing her views to the president, she must await the ad hoc committee process where she would have an opportunity to table them."

EFF disruption in Parliament

On Thursday, EFF MPs disrupted proceedings in the National Assembly while Zuma was answering questions.

Tensions rose after Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema objected to Zuma's reply to a question about when he was going to repay part of the money spent on the upgrades.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete ordered the MPs out and later adjourned proceedings.

Casac criticised the "heavy-handed" decision to call the riot police to the National Assembly and the cutting of the live feed following the disruption.

"Such displays of state force will diminish a culture of tolerant debate and Parliament’s ability to provide a national forum for the public consideration of issues."

It noted there was "a history of gradual but persistent erosion of executive accountability to Parliament".

"Hundreds of written parliamentary questions remain unanswered. Often incomplete or insubstantial replies to oral and supplementary parliamentary questions are provided, which serve to undermine executive accountability," Casac said.

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