The South African Parliament celebrated the 20th anniversary of South Africa’s democracy with a ceremony to unveil a statue of President Nelson Mandela outside the doors of the National Assembly.
Within just a few hours, this powerful gesture was quickly tarnished by President Zuma’s ANC, which went against every single principle being celebrated at this occasion.
If there was ever any indication that the ANC of today no longer embodies the values that it once did under Madiba, the conduct during the meeting of the ad hoc committee, established by the Speaker to consider the Nkandla matter, made it quite clear.
The truth is that the ANC had a predetermined plan, from the very beginning, to undermine this committee and do everything possible to ensure that President Zuma was protected from scrutiny.
It is clear that from the onset, all seven ANC MPs were deployed to this ad hoc committee to do everything possible to frustrate the parliamentary process and shield President Zuma from accountability for his role in the Nkandla scandal.
With sheer arrogance, they have shown complete disregard for the Speaker who established this ad hoc committee, the independent Chapter Nine institution which investigated the President, and the Constitution which enjoins Members of Parliament to hold the Executive to account.
The fact that the DA had brought forward solid proposals to the committee did not to deter the ANC from shutting down Parliament and preventing MPs from performing their crucial role of holding the executive to account.
The DA argued that although the committee had a much work to do, an extension until midnight on 6 May 2014 would have provided the committee ample time within which to complete its task.
This was essential because it was the President’s letter itself which pointed out “glaring anomalies” between the Public Protector and Inter-ministerial reports on this matter.
The Public Protector report also revealed that President Zuma did not answer many questions put to him, and that clarity was still needed.
This was why the DA tabled an alternative report with the Ad Hoc Committee that would seek to extend the mandate of the ad hoc committee until 23h59 on 6 May 2014 to enable the committee to hear evidence and consider the representations made to it by numerous parties.
The ANC’s rejection of the DA’s proposal was not only an effort to frustrate Parliament and its authority but it was also a clear undermining of our Constitutional values.