The Committee voted seven to three against including the observations and recommendation of the opposition parties as contained in a submission they had jointly signed. Members of the ruling party refused to discuss the submission from the opposition parties which contained their observations about the Nkandla visit and the Minister of Police’s Report on the security upgrades at the private residence of the President.
Members of the ruling party indicated that the opposition negotiated in bad faith because its report did not reflect what has been discussed throughout the process, and it did not contain the insertions that members agreed on. It failed to take note of what was seen at Nkandla. They suggested that the document did not appear to have the blessing and input of all minority parties but was the work of the DA and the other parties merely attached their signatures. The document was not written according to the requirements of the parliament, and said the opposition’s obsession with the President was clouding its judgement.
The opposition countered that the document covers what was seen at Nkandla, what was discussed in the Committee and covers the observations of individual opposition parties. Members of the opposition found it strange that the ANC did not want to engage with them. Their document should be part of the findings as it provides context and is “a report of the conscience”. It is unfortunate to say they negotiated in bad faith when the ANC has flouted Rule 138 when it somersaulted on who must be called before the Committee. They reminded the ruling party members that their participation in the Committee was not unconditional. They noted that the ANC does not answer the mandate of the Committee – it does not mention whether the President should pay or not and does not differentiate between what is security and non-security features.
Some of the findings the ANC suggested included:
- South Africans were misled about the opulence of the private residence of the President
- There is a gross exaggeration of the scope, scale, and cost of the project
- There is no value for money spent on the project, and there is a gross inflation of prices
- The workmanship is shoddy and of poor quality
- Most of the work is incomplete especially those that relate to security monitoring of the private residence of the President. Consequently, it is clear that the current security arrangements are insufficient and incomplete.
The ANC recommendations were:
- The Executive must ensure that all necessary steps are undertaken to ensure that the safety of the Head of State and his family is not compromised
- The Portfolio Committees of Public Works, Police and the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence must ensure continuous monitoring of corrective actions to be taken by the relevant national departments
- The relevant departments and law enforcement authorities ensure the expeditious conclusion of civil, criminal and disciplinary matters.
The following recommendations were added to meet the mandate of the Committee:
- The Minister of Police’s Report be adopted
- The Minister of Public Works’ Report be adopted.
Some of the observations the opposition parties made included:
- There were improvements that were obviously not security related, including but not limited to the swimming pool, the amphitheatre, the larger cattle kraal, the visitors’ centre, extensive paving and the relocation of neighbours
- It is entirely possible that when the Public Protector visited Nkandla 18 months ago prior compiling her report the whole place was in a better condition and that it has been allowed to deteriorate since her visit
- The Minister of Police misinterpreted his mandate and only concentrated on four issues. He failed to consider the other issues raised in the reports of the Public Protector and the Special Investigating Unit
- The Minister of Police, by his own admission, never engaged with the Public Protector, contrary to the judgement delivered by Schippers J
- The visitors’ centre is clearly not a security feature and it was not requested by any of the security experts.
The recommendation of the opposition parties was:
For all the reasons stated above, it is suggested that the Police Minister’s Report be rejected in its entirety.
Document: Submission signed by opposition parties
The Chairperson tabled the document containing the ANC proposed findings and recommendations as well as the submission of the DA on behalf of all opposition members regarding their observations and recommendations.
Mr V Smith (ANC) stated that the report by the opposition is opportunistic and is different from what the committee members have agreed upon. It must be rejected. The Committee must consider the three recommendations the ruling party has submitted.
Ms M Kubayi (ANC) agreed with Mr Smith, saying the opposition has not engaged with them in good faith. Members had agreed on what should be inserted. The layout of the opposition’s submission is not in the manner required by parliament. The opposition should have indicated from the beginning it wants to draft its own report.
Dr C Mulder (FF+) stated it is unfortunate to say the opposition has negotiated in bad faith. He mentioned that on two occasions the ANC somersaulted on things agreed upon especially on who should be called to appear before the Committee. The ANC Chief Whip in the National Assembly stated that all and any witnesses could be called before the Committee, and the Committee would be guided by Rule 138. It is not correct to say it differed from what was discussed in previous meetings. The problem started when the opposition wanted to know what are going to constitute findings and recommendations. It is strange that the ANC does not want to discuss the submission.
Ms B Ngcobo (ANC) asked if all the minority parties agree with the document conscientiously. The document is totally different from what Members discussed. Members had agreed on the six bullet points appearing in the Findings section.
Adv G Breytenbach (DA) indicated there is nothing new in the document. It is what Mr Selfe tabled before. It is only that every time the opposition suggests something, the ruling party members reject it.
The Chairperson commented that the only time the Members “could not find each other” was on who would be invited to appear before the Committee. And there was a walkout.
Mr D Gamede (ANC) said he does not understand why Adv Breytenbach says the report is no different from what has been discussed and seen in Nkandla. Furthermore, the document does not appear to have the input of the other minority parties. It must be rejected.
Ms C September (ANC) said the opposition appears to compile a document as if it wants to litigate. More pages on condemnation of corruption are expected from the document of the opposition. It appears as if the opposition is rehashing things all over again. She asked the Committee to discuss recommendations and reject the document.
Mr N Singh (IFP) expressed that in terms of procedure, there is an outright rejection of the report of the opposition. This document consists of signatories of the parties who participated in the drafting of it. Issues seen and agreed upon are covered in the document. Individual members of the opposition have observations that are noted in the document so that they could form part of the findings. The opposition rejects the Minister of Police’s Report presented before the Committee. It is unclear what the ruling party says about that report which is the mandate of the Committee. Even if the report of the opposition is not presented according to the requirements of the parliament, the report remains a supporting document that should go with the findings of the Committee so that it provides a context.
The Chairperson remarked that the document contains 22 pages yet 19 of them provide context.
Mr Singh indicated it is not fair to say it cannot be part of the report to be submitted. He agreed that the document from the opposition provides context.
Mr L Mabinda (PAC) stated that other minority parties participated in the drafting of the report. It is unfair for members of the ruling party to say the opposition is wasting the ANC’s time. ANC members are here to flex their muscles to show their majority. From the beginning, the opposition had said it is not here to rubberstamp the decision of the ruling party members. The opposition feels that their document should be given attention and it is a reflection of what has transpired throughout the process. He did not understand how the ruling party members could reject something that has not been discussed. Whether the ruling party members like it or not, the document remains the view of the opposition.
Ms T Mahambehlala (ANC) stated that opposition members have chosen to take over the job of the secretariat of the Committee by writing their own report. The report of the Committee is there and the duty of the Members is to discuss the findings and recommendations. The opposition document is rejected. The opposition is playing delaying tactics to make sure the work of the Committee collapses. The work of the secretariat should be left to the secretariat of the Committee.
Mr S Swart (ACDP) said the opposition is not using delaying tactics. The ANC has wasted the time of the opposition as well by accepting the Minister of Police’s Report that the President has not benefited from Nkandla. It was known from the beginning that at some point there might be a parting of ways but that is not the intention. He does not accept the observation of the ANC that it accepts the Minister of Police’s Report. Similarly, the ANC would not accept the submission of the opposition.
Mr A Plouamma (AGANG) indicated that ruling party members have to know that opposition members have the right to consult each other. They have the right to submit a report on observations so as to guide the Committee. Dr Motshekga always says the opposition must present superior arguments, and when the opposition does that, the members of the ruling party do not want to engage with the opposition report. He also noted that Ms Mahambehlala said the Public Protector never submitted her report to parliament but the President during question time agreed that the Public Protector submitted her report to parliament. Unfortunately, the opposition is not going to follow what the ruling party wants. This report of the opposition is a report of conscience.
Dr M Motshekga (ANC) said the Committee has reached a point where it has to discuss findings and recommendations because processes have been followed. The meeting is not about submission of reports. Any report that has been submitted to the Committee has no status. The opposition is married to its report. The ANC does not want to see it.
Ms E Coleman (ANC) remarked that it appears that the smaller parties did not have an input in the document and have merely attached their signatures. It appears it is the DA’s report. It is true that all along the opposition was just moving with the ANC and not discussing in good faith. The only area the parties could not agree on is the part on findings and recommendations. The ANC did not want the opposition to rubberstamp. It wanted the opposition to play a role in the process and be convincing. Unfortunately, politics is about numbers. The Committee must continue where it left off.
Dr Mulder told Ms Coleman that politics is not about numbers but about constitutional principles. He highlighted that the Committee is about to finalise the report but the opposition has the right to make an input. The participation of the opposition to the Committee was not unconditional. Proposals were made by both sides on who must appear before the Committee. Unfortunately, only people who the ruling party called appeared before the Committee – the two Ministers – but those the opposition wanted were refused. The proposed findings of the ANC do not mention whether the President should pay or not, and are mum on what is security or non-security and opulence. The recommendations are not about the mandate given to the Committee, and there is no word in the ANC recommendations that speaks about this.
Mr F Beukman (ANC) stated that the document of the opposition is not taking note of what has been discussed in the Committee and what was seen at Nkandla.
Mr N Kwankwa (UDM) agreed with Dr Mulder and indicated that the point of diversion was on the candidates to be invited to appear before the Committee. He said the Committee is going to come up with findings that are contrary to those of the Public Protector. The report from the opposition would remain observations of the opposition.
Ms D Dlakude (ANC) stated that some opposition members during the Nkandla visit felt the visit has killed their electioneering strategy. The opposition wants to say the President has defrauded the state. It wants to find fault where it is not there. This obsession with the President is clouding the judgement of the opposition. All the documents have been dealt with and the Committee is entitled to come up with its own report.
Mr Smith said the opposition came with 23 observations and 1 recommendation while the ANC came with 11 observations and 3 recommendations. The Committee took a decision not to call other people, but that does not mean the ANC has done things in bad faith. It is not time to divorce. The observations should be discussed.
Mr Singh stated that truth would prevail one day. The opposition is not going to agree to the report that says the President has not benefited unduly from the Nkandla project. The observations are not about electioneering but about Nkandla. And it is unfair that only two Ministers were called before the Committee and not a single person that the opposition suggested, appeared before it.
Mr L Ntshayisa (AIC) asked the Members to decide what they want to do because the ANC is not going to change its stance.
Prof N Khubisa (NFP) stated that the recommendation of the opposition document is intimidating because the opposition parties are focusing on security upgrades that it is adamant are non-security features but the ANC says these are security features.
Mr Smith suggested the addition of two more recommendations to the three recommendations the ANC has proposed: the Minister of Police’s Report be adopted, and the Minister of Public Works’ Report be adopted.
Ms September seconded the idea.
Seven votes were in favour of the idea, and three were against it.
Dr Mulder proposed that the Committee accept the report but include the report of the opposition.
Three votes were in favour of the idea, and seven were against it.
Voting on the Committee Report
A newly revised draft report was tabled before the Committee.
Ms Dlakude moved for the adoption of the report with amendments.
Mr Gamede seconded her.
There were seven votes in favour of the report, and three voted against it.
The Committee adopted the report with recommendations.
The meeting was adjourned.
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