I leave Nkandla in Parliament’s hands – Thuli Madonsela

2014-09-30 15:51

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The outcome of recommendations made by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in her report on the upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home is no longer in her hands, she said.

“Going forward ... I will leave the process in the hands of Parliament, South Africa and the judiciary,” she said today.

Madonsela said she released the report in the hope that the executive would follow its own ethics code.

She said the government generally obliged with her findings.

“People in government, they oblige and they fork out the money.”

In terms of the debate on the powers given to the Public Protector, Madonsela said the Constitution was the only document that regulated her office’s work.

“The Constitution of South Africa does not use the word ‘recommend’, it says we investigate, report and take appropriate remedial action,” she said.

“The power to take appropriate remedial action includes the ability to make recommendations, but it is not limited to recommendations.”

Opposition parties on Friday withdrew from the parliamentary committee dealing with the Nkandla issue, saying they would not legitimise a process they claimed was designed to shield Zuma from liability for alleged abuse of state funds.

They walked out after the ruling party refused to agree to call Zuma to answer questions and to enforce Madonsela’s directive that he repay a portion of R246 million spent on refurbishing his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

African National Congress MP Mathole Motshekga told the committee on Thursday that the majority of legal minds agreed with the president’s view that remedies put forward by the Public Protector were not binding.

“Our view is that remedial action is not binding, it has the status of recommendations,” he said, adding that the country’s courts had not pronounced definitively on the matter.

Madonsela said today that people’s lives were being changed for the better by her office’s investigations and findings.

“As the Public Protector we are able to stop the sheriff [of the court] from possessing your house and tell them to hold on,” she said.

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