DA: Sunday Times story confirms that Zuma misled Parliament
President Jacob Zuma “clearly mislead Parliament” and it is the responsibility of the Speaker of the National Assembly to call him to account for that.
And‚ said Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane‚ Baleka Mbete must write to the president and demand “without delay” an explanation as to why he told Parliament “that his family had not benefitted from the security upgrades” to his home‚ when they had.
Maimane said a Sunday Times “exposé confirms what South Africans have long held: that Jacob Zuma personally benefitted from the upgrades which took place at his R247-million private Nkandla residence”.
The newspaper reported on a dossier compiled by former Department of Public Works deputy director-general Rachard Samuel‚ which contained invoices showing that the state paid for thatching‚ meranti and aluminium doors and window frames‚ tiles‚ paint‚ plastering‚ airconditioning and unexplained "extras".
Samuel's dossier reveals that officials involved in the project repeatedly cautioned their political heads that Zuma would have to pay a portion of the costs.
The Sunday Times said it had also seen e-mail exchanges in which junior officials involved in the project warned their superiors that the cost of Nkandla was escalating substantially.
“This contradicts what Zuma previously articulated in Parliament where he stated that he and his family had not benefitted materially from the upgrades‚” said Maimane. He quoted Zuma as saying: “My residence in Nkandla was paid for by the Zuma family. All the buildings and every room we use in that residence was built by ourselves as a family and not by government. I have never asked government to build a home for me‚ and it has not done so.” He added that Zuma had said: “What the security has done for security features does not include the houses you have counted. They are neither in my residence nor my home.”
Maimane said the “information released by the Sunday Times‚ which was not made available to the public protector during her investigation into Nkandla‚ shows that taxpayers money was spent on Zuma’s private residences in Nkandla including items such as air conditioning‚ aluminium windows‚ paved walkways and even six doormats which each cost R1500”.
In her report on Nkandla‚ "Secure in Comfort"‚ Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said she was "not able to establish if costs relating to his private renovations were separated from those of the state".
Madonsela told the Sunday Times that she was not granted access to the information in Samuel's dossier. "Had it been given to us we would have had a basis to demand confirmation of payment for the private work‚" she added.
“It is unacceptable that Zuma can be allowed to trample on the institution of Parliament by lying to it and by repeatedly evading accountability to the people of South Africa by Parliament‚” said Maimane. “This information adds the growing body of evidence‚ which points to a man who is not fit to serve as president‚ and I again call on the African National Congress to recall Zuma. “South Africa cannot be led by a man who blatantly disregard the rule of law and the Constitution in order to enrich himself and a cabal of people close to him.”
Samuel was one of the officials said to have been made to take the fall for the government's overspending on Nkandla. He claims he was forced out on trumped-up charges and plans to use the dossier in his legal battle for a payout. Last month he won a case in the Labour Court‚ which ruled that he and the department should enter renewed arbitration.
Zuma's spokesman‚ Bongani Majola‚ told The Sunday Times that the president reiterated that his residence in Nkandla was built and paid for by the Zuma family.