NUMSA statement on ConCourt Nkandla ruling

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa welcomes the Constitutional Court’s ruling that President Zuma and the National Assembly acted incorrectly when they decided to set aside Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report which recommended that Zuma pay back some of the R246 million spent on “security upgrades”, at his private residence in Nkandla.
Numsa further applauds the Court’s verdict that the National Treasury should determine, within 60 days, a “reasonable percentage” which Zuma ought to pay back and that then “the president must personally pay the amount determined by the National Treasury… within 45 days of this court’s signification of its approval of the report… by the National Treasury.” We demand that he do so with no delay.
Numsa has from the outset condemned all the looting and corruption in this massive over-spending of public money on one private home, by both government officials and the firms who got the contracts for the upgrades. There can be absolutely no excuse for spending R246 million for one person and his family – in particular the President of the ANC and South Africa – when, 20 years after our “democratic breakthrough”, four million Africans are crammed into one-roomed houses and more than 25 million Africans live in houses with less than three rooms.
Numsa also refuses to accept that Zuma had neither asked for nor been involved in this extreme abuse of state resources, or that he, or any of the others implicated genuinely believed that an amphitheatre, visitor’s centre, cattle kraal, chicken kraal and swimming pool were security upgrades.
There can be no better example of the extent of rot, corruption and complete loss of revolutionary morality which is now endemic in the ANC, the SACP and their business co-conspirators, which is made even worse by the fact that none of the many who must have been aware of all this blew the whistle on this outrage.
The union further condemns all the ministers, MPs and officials who fraudulently tried to cover up the scandal, especially Police Minister Nhlanhla Nhleko, who misled Parliament in order to justify Zuma’s then decision that he was not liable to pay back any of the funds and all those MPs who, as the Concourt ruled, should have challenged Madonsela’s report before a court of law, instead of dismissing it.
Numsa however cautions against the simplistic view of opposition parties and many others that this scandal is confined to President to Zuma and a relatively small number of corrupt cronies, such as the Gupta family, and that the cancer of corruption can be resolved just by getting rid of them.
While the union will back the call for them all to be brought to justice, we recognise the reality that this scandal is just an extreme example of a vast network of institutionalised corruption in both the public and private sector, rooted in a structurally corrupt system of white monopoly capitalism, funded by the super-exploitation of workers, whose labour creates the wealth of the rich.
It has fostered a culture of extreme conspicuous consumption by a tiny minority in a vast sea of extreme poverty. We therefore need a campaign not just to replace one corrupt capitalist President, MP or business leader with another but for a decisive break with the entire capitalist system and a campaign for a socialist South Africa and a socialist world in which the Freedom Charter’s call that “the national wealth of our country, the heritage of South Africans, shall be restored to the people” becomes not just a slogan but a reality.
Numsa’s Special National Congress in 2013 passed the following resolution on “the misappropriate use of state funds and resources as can be seen in Nkandla and the neo-liberal path championed by the Jacob Zuma administration”, and noted:
1. There are allegations that taxpayers’ money has been inappropriately used to build a home costing more than R200-million for the President of the Republic of South Africa.
2. This alleged use of the taxpayers’ money takes place in the sea of poverty in our country.
3. When asked in Parliament in 2012, the President told the whole nation that development of his house was from his family’s own pockets.
4. Since the allegations on use of taxpayers’ money for renovations of the President’s home, there have been concerted attempts to squash the truth about the expenditure including the classification of the Inter-Ministerial Report on Nkandla, the use of the notorious and apartheid style legislation such as the National Key Points Act of 1980 as well as the attempt by the Security Cluster Ministers to interdict the Public Protector.
5. NUMSA’s National Executive Committee (NEC) had called on all facts on Nkandla to be put on the table and in public.
6. President Zuma’s administration has been marked by one scandal after the other if one considers the landing of the Guptas Group from India in a National Key Point which posed security risks for the country and the presence of the President’s family in business deals.
7. President Zuma’s administration continues to be characterized by lack of transparency and attempts to hide the workings of the state from the Public. An example of this lack of transparency is the passing of the so-called Protection of Information Bill or Secrecy Bill.
8. President Zuma’s reign has seen the continuation of neo-liberalism through policies such as the National Development Plan (NDP), the Employment Tax Incentive Bill, Youth Wage Subsidy, Labour brokers and E-tolls.
9. As a country, we have a recent experience where former State President Thabo Mbeki was recalled for pursuing neo-liberal policies.
Believing that:
1. It was correct that the NUMSA President in his opening remarks raised the question of whether should it not be appropriate to agitate for the recall of the State President if the final report of the Public Protector proves that taxpayers’ money was used inappropriately.
2. Reasons for the recall of the former president Thabo Mbeki was based on the neoliberal policies of his government.
3. The Zuma administration not only pursues neo-liberalism but it is characterized by scandals, nepotism and patronage.
4. The Public Protector’s report has the potential to destroy the image of the State President and send a negative image about this country.
5. Any State president should lead by example and the ethics and leadership style demonstrated by our late icon the late President Mandela.
Congress therefore resolved that:
1. As this Special National Congress (SNC) we endorse the question raised by the Numsa President of whether should we not call for the resignation of President Jacob Zuma if all evidence shows that in the renovations, taxpayers’ money was used inappropriately.
2. As this SNC, we feel that the question by the Numsa President was pertinent and appropriate. The Numsa President showed leadership.
3. The SNC condemns all the attempts that tried to block the truth on Nkandla such as the classification of the report by Minister of Public Works Thulas Nxesi as well as the interdict of the Public Protector by the Security Cluster Ministers.
4. This SNC calls on President Jacob Zuma to resign with immediate effect because of his administration’s pursuit of neo-liberal policies such as the NDP, e-tolls, labour brokers, youth wage subsidy; and the track record of his administration which is steeped in corruption, patronage and nepotism.
For further comment please phone Irvin Jim, General Secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, on 073 157 6384