Journalists granted access to Nkandla scapegoat’s hearing

2014-09-30 15:03

In what’s been described as a big win for media freedom, Media24 – including City Press – has been granted access to a disciplinary hearing of one of the department of public works officials who’s been charged in connection with upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home.

Jean Rindel, a senior construction project manager, gave permission for journalists to sit in on his hearing in Durban.

The department of public works opposed Media24’s application despite Rindel’s permission, saying it had the right to hold the hearings privately and that journalists’ presence could unsettle witnesses.

Rindel said he believed the presence of the media could help him get a fair hearing.

Rindel and other officials face a raft of charges that were finalised late last week – ranging from financial misconduct and allowing irregular expenditure or fruitless and wasteful expenditure to occur, to prejudicing the administration of the department and misconduct for failing to ensure contractors were appointed in a fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective manner.

City Press reported on Sunday that the officials said they were simply following orders.

Read: Nkandla scapegoats won’t go down without a fight

Media24’s lawyers will now seek permission from the other accused to access their hearings, and will use today’s ruling to try and gain access.

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