On 30 September 2012, I wrote to the Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, to request that she investigate the over R200 million upgrade of President Jacob Zuma’s private home in Nkandla.
The report released today is the culmination of a long struggle by the DA in parliament to get to the truth of the Nkandla matter.
The DA welcomes the release of this final report and that its recommendations are being made public. We know that Adv. Mandonsela faced major challenges. We know too that many Ministers – and reportedly the President himself - sought to influence her investigation and prevent it from taking place.
Today is an historic day in our fight against the corruption, cronyism and nepotism which have run rampant during President Jacob Zuma’s term in office. It is a victory for the Constitution and the rule of law.
The public protector’s damning findings show the extent to which President Zuma has been implicated for this role in the Nkandlagate scandal and that his actions were “inconsistent” with the Constitution. The key findings are as follows:
Given these damning findings, I will submit a formal request to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Max Sisulu, to recall the National Assembly as a matter of urgency to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Zuma in terms of Section 89 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
The DA will also be studying the report closely and tabling substantive motions against all other Ministers who have been implicated for wrong doing in this report. We will announce further action going forward.
For the last two years, South Africans have voiced their outrage that over R200 million of public money was spent on President Zuma’s private home in Nkandla. Images of this multi-million rand compound are a stark reminder that this is a President who puts himself first and the people second.
According to reports, President Zuma used public money to build the following:
Impeachment is the correct course of action for this flagrant abuse of public money. It should be noted that an impeachment process is without precedent in democratic South Africa. It refers to the power the National Assembly holds, in terms of section 89 of the Constitution, to remove a President from office if he has acted in “serious violation of the Constitution or law”, or is believed to have committed “serious misconduct”.
An impeachment is more serious than a motion of no confidence because if the President is removed from office he will lose benefits of office and be unable to hold any public office again. It is a fitting sanction for a President who abuses his office for personal gain.
Given these damning findings, and the seriousness of this matter, Parliament must immediately begin considering my motion.
We anticipate that the ANC in Parliament will try and block this process. However, as the Speaker has himself pointed out, the fourth Parliament remains in session until 7 May 2014. Furthermore, the National Council of Provinces is still in session. Indeed, a special sitting may need to be called in any event to consider any legislation amended by the NCOP.
The DA does not take this action lightly. Impeachment is a serious step and it is not a constitutional mechanism which should be used without good reason.
However, executive misconduct of this magnitude is deserving of the most severe democratic sanction set out in our Constitution.
Our people deserve to know that when their leaders take them from granted, that they will be held to account.
I urge the ANC and the President to respect the findings of this report and to cooperate with all processes to ensure that every person – including President Jacob Zuma – is held to account.
I also encourage every South African who is outraged by this corruption to call and lobby their local MP, no matter who they are or what their political affiliation - and urge them to support this impeachment motion.
Let us send a message out today and in the weeks ahead that we are a country standing together for change, and against corruption.