IF South Africa was a healthy democracy with strong opposition parties Public Works Minster Thulas Nxesi would be fired from his position for misleading or deliberately telling lies to cover up fraudulent expenditure at President Jacob Zuma's private resident at Nkandla.
At first Nxesi claimed the alleged R238-million revamp at Zuma's private residence was to be done in compliance with the provisions of the ministerial handbook.
He later changed his tune after it was pointed out to him that the ministerial handbook limited the state expenditure to security upgrades of public office bearers' private residences to R100000.
Nxesi then claimed Zuma was not just an ordinary public office bearer, suggesting Zuma was not bound by ministerial handbook.
Secondly, the minister claimed he could not give the exact amount of taxpayers' money spent on security upgrades of Zuma's private residence.
And then Nxesi claimed Zuma's private residence was a national key point – and therefore he used the National Key Point Act to evade giving details on how much of taxpayers' money was used in this fraudulent expenditure.
Nxesi forgot that the National Key Point Act he was invoking was no longer relevant because this act, used by apartheid regime, was repealed in 1982.
In this modern and constitutional democracy we live in, the National Key Point Act is unconstitutional and unjust, therefore it is not applicable in the case of the Nkandla saga. I want to advise the minister that in the future get legal advice before you spend taxpayers' money on your comrades' private residences, or the failure to do so will be summed up as committing fraud and abuse of state resources.
I further advise the minister not to solicit legal advice from Justice Minister Jeff Radebe. I am reminded of his two classical examples of legal advice to Zuma not so long ago. In both cases Zuma's decisions were challenged in court, and the president lost those cases:
ýThe appointment of Menzi Simelane as the head of the NPA; and
ýThe extension of Judge Sandile Ngcobe's term of office as chief justice.
Let me conclude by quoting Archbishop Desmond Tutu: "the price of freedom is eternal vigilance". South Africans must be vigilant, lest our country be turned into a haven of fraudsters and corrupt politicians.
Sipho Mkwayi, Port Elizabeth