Public protector blocked from addressing Nkandla committee

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela had expected Parliament’s ad hoc committee on Nkandla to interview her, she said on Friday.

“They should ensure they exhaust all sources of information that may shed light on the issue they want to decide on. I have information on the issue they are deliberating on and I would like to share that information,” she said in a statement.

On Thursday night the committee voted seven against and four in favour of a proposal that Madonsela be called and questioned on her findings about the R246m spent on upgrades at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead.

The committee had 14 voting members, eight of them from the African National Congress (ANC) and six from the opposition.

It also voted four in favour and seven against a proposal to question other people involved in the Nkandla saga including former public works minister Geoff Doidge, Nkandla architect Minenhle Makhanya, Nkandla project manager Jean Rindel, the quantity surveyor and the two people who drafted the Special Investigation Unit’s (SIU) report on Nkandla.

Madonsela said Zuma misinterpreted the recommendations in her report, released in March 2014, when he appointed Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko to compile his own Nkandla report.

Public misstatements and distortions

In his letter to her, dated July 23, Zuma wrote he had appointed Nhleko to give effect to her recommendation he ask the minister to determine what he had to pay for those upgrades “not reasonably linked to security”.

Madonsela pointed out her recommendation was for Zuma himself to: “Take steps, with the assistance of the National Treasury and the [South African Police Services], to determine the reasonable cost of the measures implemented by the [public works department] at his private residence that do not relate to security and which include the visitor’s centre, amphitheatre, cattle kraal and chicken run [and] swimming pool.”

Nhleko subsequently found, as stated in his report released on May 28, all of those features were necessary for Zuma’s security and he did not have to pay a cent for them.

Madonsela said she would brief media on Monday to clear up what she said were public misstatements and distortions about her report, entitled “Secure in Comfort”.

“The Public Protector is of the view, left uncorrected, the misstatements and distortions have a potential to undermine and erode public confidence in her office,” her spokesperson Kgalalelo Masibi said in a statement.

Addressing the ad hoc committee on Thursday, ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga said Madonsela had misled South Africa about Nkandla.

“We should not, and cannot, apologise when we say the report of the public protector is misleading and has misled the nation,” he said.

He said there was no amphitheatre, but merely “steps, those terraces”.

News24

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Public protector blocked from addressing Nkandla committee