Johannesburg – Just because the ANC welcomed President Jacob Zuma’s decision to pay back the money for upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, didn’t mean it thought he was responsible for them, the party said on Wednesday.
“The ANC welcomes the decision of President Zuma to find a permanent solution to the… [Nkandla] matter within the recommendations of the public protector, as per the president’s submission to the Constitutional Court,” spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.
“It is the view of the ANC that such a solution will bring closure to the long drawn matter which has been a focus of Parliament for some time.
“Our support for the proposed solution does not imply that President Zuma is responsible for wrong doing in the security upgrades at Nkandla. We still call for prosecution of those responsible.”
Zuma announced in a statement late on Tuesday that his lawyers had written to the Constitutional Court proposing a settlement in the Nkandla matter.
He asked it to consider making an order that the auditor general and the finance minister determine how much he should pay back for non-security upgrades such as the visitors’ centre, the amphitheatre, the cattle kraal, chicken run and the swimming pool.
The ANC’s tripartite alliance partner, the Congress of SA Trade Unions, also welcomed Zuma’s “intervention”, saying it would go a long way to assure the nation that the president was “prepared to listen and take political responsibility as a leader of the nation”.
“It will also deny the opportunistic opposition parties oxygen to bolster their elections campaigns,” spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said.
“This matter unfortunately became a swamp, where all political charlatans were swimming in to get the public’s attention and was used to vilify both the ANC and the president.”
It said “this episode” should serve as a lesson for government of what is possible if “greedy service providers and senior government managers are inadequately supervised – they will run amok”.
“We still reiterate our position that all those found to have manipulated the system and participated in this mucky saga of excessive runaway spending should be held accountable.”