Public Protector, ministers meet after Nkandla report leak

2013-11-29 16:48

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela met with ministers in the security cluster this afternoon after her damning provisional report into the upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home had leaked. Read: Nkandla: 5 things worth knowing about Madonsela’s report The meeting, which was also attended by Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi, took place as content from the report was leaked to the Mail & Guardian, which published an article that put the blame on Zuma for the at least R208 million spent by taxpayers at his home.

The meeting also comes as the ANC warned opposition parties and ordinary South Africans against commenting on the leaked report before Madonsela had completed her probe.

Government spokesperson Phumla Williams said that in the meeting Madonsela “committed herself to following the proper process of handling such reports”.

Ministers also emphasised that an investigation by a public works task team into the Nkandla upgrades had found a litany of improprieties related to the Nkandla spending.

“The security cluster wishes to reiterate the integrity of government’s own investigation into the Nkandla security upgrades.

“This investigation established, among other things, that no state funds had been spent on improving President Jacob Zuma’s private houses at Nkandla,” said Williams.

While the security upgrades were justified, Williams said, government was of the view that “the manner in which the department of public works handled the matter was inappropriate”.

“The government investigation found there had been a number of irregularities in the appointment of service providers and the procurement of goods and services,” said Williams.

As government tried to douse the flames created by the leak, the ANC also issued its own statement, backing Zuma after a social media petition had called for him to be impeached for his involvement in the Nkandla spending.

According to the M&G, Madonsela found that Zuma and his family had benefited from the extensive security upgrades and ordered him to repay some of the money spent on the upgrades.

But ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu rejected the story on Madonsela’s findings, saying the Public Protector was yet to verify whether the M&G story quoted the correct report.

Mthembu said the ANC “notes and cautions the public and political formations on the report of Inkandla by the Mail & Guardian today. The process pertaining to the Inkandla report as per the Office of the Public Protector is still to be released by her office. Therefore what has been publicised has not been proven to be that report and neither has it been verified by the Office of the Public Protector.”

The ruling party urged South Africans to refrain from commenting on the article on Nkandla.

“The ANC is calling on all South Africans, particularly those who have started to comment on the story, to exercise restraint and caution until the Public Protector releases her report.

“Failure to do so will prejudice the process as outlined by the Public Protector and all involved stakeholders,” said the party.

The ANC said it would not comment on the leaked information and urged Madonsela to release her findings “soonest”.

“As the ANC, we continue to have confidence in our president and we believe and know that he is not responsible for any wrongdoing with regard to the Inkandla security upgrade,” said the party.

The IFP had called for Nxesi to be fired, while the DA vowed that it would table a motion to have Zuma investigated by Parliament.

Full statement – Government on leaking of ‘purported’ Public Protector report on Nkandla

Full statement – ANC urges public to exercise restraint on Nkandla report

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