I welcome the decision by the parliamentary questions office to publish my written question to President Zuma asking him how much he or his family will be spending on his Nkandla private home upgrade. I resubmitted the question this week, after it had been blocked by the questions office on the grounds it inquired into President Zuma’s private life. This decision, I argued, set a dangerous precedent where Parliament could protect the President from answering difficult questions.
In terms of the rules, President Zuma will now have 10 parliamentary working days to answer this question. I expect the President to respect the rules, and provide an answer in full within this period of time. Anything less will make a mockery of Parliament’s constitutional mandate to hold the executive to account. I will pursue further steps should Mr Zuma not abide by the stipulated time frames, including referring the question for oral reply.
President Zuma must use his reply to my question to come clean to South Africans on his involvement in this scandal, which has negatively impacted on the integrity of his office. The silence from his government and his determination to hide behind provisions of the National Key Points Act of 1980 casts a suspicious shadow over the project in its entirety.
South Africans want answers. Mr Zuma now has an opportunity to provide them.