Madonsela: I will not engage with Zuma in the media

2014-09-12 10:13

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has received President Jacob Zuma’s letter written in response to her reminder that he has failed to heed her findings on Nkandla, her office has said.

“The Public Protector received the letter yesterday afternoon,” spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said today.

“She is considering the contents thereof. She will not comment on the contents because she does not wish to engage with the president in the media.”

In the letter, Zuma said he could not and should not give blanket acceptance to Madonsela’s reports.

The president said he “must respectfully disagree” with Madonsela’s view that her reports and recommendations can only be reviewed by a court of law, and not by ministers or the Cabinet.

Read: You are not a judge, Zuma tells Madonsela

Zuma said the Public Protector arrived at her findings without the “adversarial hearing” inherent in a court process, and this was a “significant factor to caution me against a blanket acceptance without applying my own mind”.

Therefore his role was not simply to rubber-stamp her findings.

Zuma is facing sustained criticism for not complying with Madonsela’s order that he reimburse the state for improvements such as a swimming pool and chicken run built at his homestead in Nkandla as part of a R246 million project originally destined to upgrade security.

The president last month deferred a decision as to whether he was liable to repay any funds to Police Minister Nathi Nhleko.

In his letter, he said he stood by this decision.

He urged Madonsela to let the parliamentary process around the Nkandla controversy unfold.

The legislature has established an ad hoc committee to weigh her findings, as well as that of the Special Investigating Unit, a ministerial task team and the president’s response to all of three, submitted last month.

Zuma’s office submitted the investigating unit’s final report to Parliament yesterday, after many delays – partly blamed by the agency on difficulty in gaining access to the Nkandla property.

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