“We lost face and we cannot afford to lose face again,” says the incoming ANC’s Parliamentary Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu on eNCA’s the Justice Factor show last night.
Mthembu said this while declaring his concern over the manner in which the ANC caucus handled the Nkandla saga which according to him has resulted in the party losing face.
Mthmbu said this after the DA leader Mmusi Maimane besought Speaker Baleka Mbete to write to President Jacob Zuma demanding “without delay” explanation on why he told parliament “that his family had not benefited from the security upgrades” to his home, when it had.
Maimane said a Sunday Times “exposé confirmed what South Africans had long-held: that Zuma personally benefited from the R247-million upgrades to his private Nkandla residence”.
Backing up his statements with proves from a dossier by former Department of Public Works deputy director-general Richard Samuel, which contained invoices showing the state paid for thatching, meranti and aluminium doors and window frames, tiles, paint, plastering, air-conditioning and unexplained “extras among other proves, Maimane claimed the president’s words were contradictory.
“This contradicts what Zuma previously articulated in parliament, where he stated he and his family had not benefited materially from the upgrades,”
President Zuma was quoted saying: “My residence in Nkandla was paid for by the Zuma family. All the buildings and every room we use in that residence was built by ourselves as a family and not by [the] government. I have never asked [the] government to build a home for me, and it has not done so.”
However, by referring to the ANC’s involvement in the Nkandla issue as embarrassing, the party’s new chief whip might have reawakened the party to review its internal conduct in relation with the issue is necessary.
We could recall that ANC MPs have in the past been criticized for allegedly handling the Nkandla matter in a partisan manner, but many were embarrassed when the president approached the Constitutional Court, saying he’s prepared to pay back the money.
To this, Mthembu assured the Justice Factor the matter would be properly discussed.
“How do we ensure that the relationship between us and Luthuli house and our principals, the ANC broadly, is a relationship that is steeped in these values and objectives that the ANC stands for?
“This is also a matter by the way that is before the African National Congress for discussion so that whatever we do in parliament , whatever is done by the majority is something that doesn’t make us a joke of the nation.” he said.