President Jacob Zuma was advised by senior ANC leaders two years ago to pay back a portion of the R246-million spent on upgrades to his Nkandla home.
This is according to a report in the Sunday Times, citing ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe who revealed that the NEC had in 2014 advised Zuma to take public protector Thuli Madonsela’s “Secure in Comfort” report to court for review.
Zuma instead assigned Police Minister Nathi Nhleko to compile a report that concluded that the president was not liable to pay back any money for the upgrades. That report was this week discredited in the Constitutional Court.
“It was the NEC that made that decision [to take Madonsela’s report for review],” Mantashe told the Sunday Times.
Party spokesman Zizi Kodwa said the NEC had also advised that the interministerial task team report on Nkandla be taken on review.
“[Madonsela and the interministerial task team] made reports which were almost the same in content but with different determinations. We made the decision as the ANC to take both reports on review. That advice was not followed,” said Kodwa.
Opposition parties, led by the DA, have said that they will seek action to have the president impeached following the admissions in the Con Court.
An ANC MP told the Sunday paper that it would be difficult to defend Zuma. “What are we dealing with here? A president who does not apply his mind,” the MP said.
“He might see this as a victory today, but there are far-reaching consequences. I don’t know how the Speaker will avoid setting up an inquiry into the fitness of the president to hold office.”
A number of senior ANC figures who had previously supported the president were angered by his u-turn over Nkandla.
“There is a feeling of fear. No one feels safe. Everyone wonders if they are going to be thrown under the bus next. A breach of trust – that is what it is,” said an MP.
According to a report by the City Press, ANC insiders have said that members are “pissed off – all of them – even members who were part of that Nkandla Committee.”
Members felt like they were thrown under the bus on the Nkandla matter.
ANC MPs are expected to vent their anger toward Zuma at caucus meeting next Thursday, where they will raise the issue.
For the full reports, see the Sunday Times and City Press of 14 February 2016.