THE special parliamentary committee established to probe the R246m upgrade to President Jacob Zuma ’s Nkandla home, and electioneering, will be in the spotlight this week.
The ad hoc committee on Nkandla, established by National Assembly speaker Max Sisulu last Thursday, returns scrutiny on to how Mr Zuma and his family benefited from the nonsecurity upgrades to his home as the governing African National Congress (ANC) tries to keep the scandal out of the headlines as the election approaches.
The committee, expected to begin its work on Tuesday, will almost certainly result in fierce exchanges between the ANC and opposition parties, particularly when the Democratic Alliance (DA) calls for Mr Zuma to be subpoenaed to tell what he knew about the upgrades.
Also top of the agenda for the DA will be a request that Mr Zuma provide proof that he has a bond on his Nkandla home. Asked the question by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, Mr Zuma did not respond.
ANC chief whip in the National Assembly Stone Sizani has already indicated that the ANC component in the committee will stick strictly to the terms of reference announced by Mr Sisulu. The ANC is likely to argue that the committee should confine itself to Mr Zuma’s response while the opposition will argue that the committee’s mandate also covers Ms Madonsela’s full report.
Today the ANC national executive committee wraps up a weekend election blitz in Gauteng before moving to other areas of the country for the rest of the week.
The DA leadership will also be electioneering, with activities planned for each day of this week and the weekend. Party leader Helen Zille will have a walkabout in Phillipi, in Cape Town on Tuesday. On Wednesday she will be campaigning in Pretoria and on Friday it is back to Cape Town to hand out easter eggs at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital. On Sunday she will visit the Zionist Christian Church rally in Limpopo.
On Tuesday Mr Zuma will lead a delegation comprising much of the Cabinet on a “monitoring” visit to the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality in the Eastern Cape.
A statement from the Presidency said, “the presidential monitoring programme provides an opportunity for the president to assess progress in governance and service delivery around the country”.
Mr Zuma will have discussions with the provincial and city government as well as various sectors including business. “The president will end the visit with a report-back in New Brighton.”