Police portfolio committee to discuss Public Protector’s report

2011-03-30 13:04

Parliament’s portfolio committee on police will discuss the controversial lease of a Pretoria building only when Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has investigated another lease deal in Durban.

Today committee chairwoman Lydia Chikunga said a letter was sent to Madonsela for a possible date for the finalisation of the investigation into a deal by police to lease an office in Durban.

“She has not yet responded. We are still awaiting it.”

Committee members agreed that the reports on the buildings in Pretoria and Durban should be discussed simultaneously.

This was because both reports were similar and it would save time.

A proposal for the portfolio committees on police and public works to jointly discuss the reports was also supported.

When tabling her report in Parliament, Madonsela requested that both committees process and discuss the report together as both departments were involved in the leasing of the buildings.

At the time, the Speaker of Parliament did not say whether both committees would discuss the report.

“So the resolution from the committee is that we’ll wait for the Durban report and process them together and work with the committee on public works,” said Chikunga.

The raid by police on the public protector’s office would be dealt with separately at a later stage.

“[Because] this meeting is only about two reports. The Public Protector’s report and the lease,” said Chikunga.

Madonsela, after investigating a complaint over a R500 million contract to lease a Pretoria building for police headquarters without going to tender, found Cele guilty of improper conduct and maladministration for his role.

In a scathing report released late last month, Madonsela recommended that Cabinet demand an explanation from Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde about signing off on the deal, despite legal advice to the contrary.

In her report, Madonsela said the department of public works’ decision to push ahead with the deal amounted to maladministration.

She called on the National Treasury to determine steps to terminate the lease, and took aim at national police commissioner General Bheki Cele for signing the memorandum authorising funding for the deal.

Madonsela had said she hoped the Durban probe would shed more light onto relations between the police and property mogul Roux Shabangu, as many people involved in the Pretoria deal were also involved in the Durban one.

She planned to conclude the Durban investigation this month.

Last month, police arrived at the public protector’s offices demanding to know how it had obtained certain documents that were also in the hands of the media.

The ill-timed raid has been widely condemned. Cele suspended the officers involved pending an investigation.

Madonsela told Parliament her staff were left “traumatised” by the experience.

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