Johannesburg – ANC Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile has come out against Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s report on security upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead, saying he does not agree with it.
Mashatile was speaking on a panel with DA leader Mmusi Maimane and former Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi at the Daily Maverick Gathering in Midrand, Johannesburg, on Thursday.
“When the minister gave his report, he said something to the effect that more is going to be spent,” Mashatile said.
“Now I just want to say that is not the ANC position.”
‘Still going to be discussed by the NEC’
Mashatile was interrupted by puppet Chester Missing, who shouted: “Lies, lies.”
The Gauteng ANC leader, who is also an MP, said there could not be a situation where the public was complaining, while government said more money would be spent.
“So that issues is still going to be discussed by the NEC [national executive committee] itself, because it never came to us.
“So for now, I’d like to say it’s his [Nhleko] view.”
Opposition leader, Maimane did not agree with this, pointing out that the ANC in Parliament had voted in favour of the report, so it could be seen as ANC policy.
Mashatile disagreed, saying the report was still going to be discussed.
“The point I was making… is that issues has never come to us as the ANC.”
He said the first time he heard about it was when Nhleko presented his report. “I don’t agree with it.”
Last month, Nhleko released the final report into the upgrades at the president’s KwaZulu-Natal homestead.
He told reporters in Cape Town that Zuma was not required to pay back any money.
He said the upgrades such as a swimming pool and cattle kraal, which were slammed by opposition parties as lavish and wasteful, were in fact legitimate security features.
Nhleko’s account was contrary to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report, Secure in Comfort, released in March 2014, which found that Zuma had to pay back a “reasonable” portion of the money spent on upgrades not related to security, as he and his family had “unduly benefited” from them.
‘I do salute Paul and his guts’
Vavi on Thursday praised Mashatile for standing up and saying something.
“I do salute Paul and his guts in relation to this mater of the R246 million,” he said to loud cheers.
“If we had a lot of Paul Mashatile’s in the national executive committee way back in 2009 when it was first reported that the Nkandla spending had escalated to R79m and then to R100 and something milllion, we would not be sitting with R246m now.”
Vavi said Cabinet ministers and national executive committee members should hang their heads in shame for not standing up and saying something at the time. He pointed out that Mashatile was a minister when it first come out.
Mashatile is widely tipped for a position in the ANC’s top six at the party’s 2017 elective conference.
Asked at the gathering if he was going to stand for a top position, Mashatile said: “it’s a rumour for now.”
He was also asked whether he thought the ANC should have a woman leader.
“As the ANC we are very open to anybody leading,” Mashatile said, joking that he had been put on the spot.
“[However] as we get to conference we have to look at the best candidate to lead the ANC and the country.”