Nkandla: ‘National security’ basis of security cluster’s court bid

2014-05-15 14:59

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President Jacob Zuma’s security cluster ministers will use principles of “national security” to try and overturn Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s damning report on the controversial R246 million upgrades at Zuma’s Nkandla homestead.

In a press release issued by government spokesperson Phumla Williams today, she said security cluster ministers would take Madonsela’s report on review in court.

“It is the ministers’ view that the Public Protector’s report and the investigation she conducted trespass on the separation of powers doctrine and offend against Section 198(d) of the Constitution, which vests national security in Parliament and the National Executive.”

This particular section of the Constitution deals with the “principles that govern national security” in South Africa.

It states that “national security is subject to the authority of Parliament and the national executive”.

A top constitutional lawyer, who asked not to be named, said an argument intended to overturn the report based on Section 198 would be “rubbish”.

“The section says [Parliament and the national executive] are in command, it doesn’t say that they are immune from scrutiny and accountability.”

The senior counsel said it was bizarre for the state to take Madonsela’s findings on review.

The press release, which says the grounds of review will be more fully canvassed in court papers, also says it is the ministers’ view that some of the findings and remedial action proposed by the Public Protector in her report are “irrational, contradictory and are informed by material errors of law”.

Court papers have not yet been filed in the case.

Madonsela’s report, released in March, said that Zuma and his family had unduly benefited from the upgrades at his home.

It recommended that Zuma pay back some of the money spent on building the complex’s infamous “firepool,” its ampitheatre, a cattle kraal and a chicken coop.

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