Radebe’s weekend read

2013-11-03 10:00

Justice minister to thumb through Thuli Madonsela’s Nkandla report at home.

This weekend, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe will be reading through the Public Protector’s preliminary ­report on Nkandla.

He is the only one who has it.

Not even President Jacob Zuma has a copy of the report into how and why more than R200?million of state money was spent on his ­private KwaZulu-Natal home.

Thuli Madonsela’s office has made only one copy available.

A source close to the presidency said Zuma would wait for the ­security cluster in his Cabinet – which is headed by Radebe – to ­assess whether parts of the report “compromised” his security before deciding on how to respond to it.

The security cluster also includes the departments of state security, home affairs, finance, correctional services and the police.

The official said: “The provisional one (Public Protector’s report) is normally confidential. For every ­report, standard procedure is to allow the affected people to comment.

“We are not sure what the security cluster will say. Apparently, they were given the report yesterday (Friday). They will be better placed to judge the given information. If it outlines locations, locations of sensitive places or other information that could compromise security, they will be wary,” said the source.

Radebe’s spokesperson, Mthunzi Mhaga, said they would not make any comment on Madonsela’s ­report at this stage.

She was to have released the ­secret preliminary report this week to affected parties, including Zuma, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi, whose department was responsible for the controversial upgrades, and the DA, which lodged the complaint with her.

They might see the report if the security cluster does not object to it being made public.

But Madonsela’s decision to ­accede to the security cluster’s request to read the report first was red-flagged by the DA.

Its parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko, has warned that the party would fight any attempt to bury it.

Only after the security cluster has responded – by Wednesday – will the draft report be made available to all affected parties.

But Mazibuko, who asked Madonsela last year to investigate if Zuma and his family benefited improperly from his home upgrade, now wants clarity on what she will do if the draft report is classified.

“This is worrying, given that the same ministers ‘classified’ the Public Works task team report into the matter because of their ‘concerns’ that this will impact on the president’s security,” Mazibuko said.

Indicating the level of concern over the report’s sensitivity and the potential for leaks, Madonsela’s office said complainants and some of the respondents would, “due to ­security reasons”, have to “view the report at the Public Protector’s ­offices in the presence of members of the investigation team”.

Only after she has received comments from all parties, considered them and integrated them into her final report, will it be sent to National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu.

Word on the street: Here’s what you think about the Nkandla report

Zanele Skosana (44),

Teacher, Mdantsane

I am sad that he spends so much on his private home.

I feel that as an ordinary person, there is nothing much I can do about it. He is the president, and who am I?

In the Eastern Cape there are children who are still learning under trees after 20 years of democracy.

The Public Protector’s investigation should be made public so that everyone can hear the details for themselves.

But for some of us who have already lost confidence in the ANC, we don’t even know if the report will be a true reflection of what really happened.

Its publication won’t change how I feel about President Zuma because I have already lost confidence in him and the ANC.

Tyron Oates (39),

Mechanic, East London

He is trying to set himself up for when he is no longer the president.

Why does he need such a big house? Is he trying to put out a statement, or to say he is better than everyone else?

The people voted him into power and they should know what he is spending the money on.

But whether the report is made public or not still does not change my opinion of the president. He is a selfish man.

Jonathan Ronny Dearman (59), Retired, Sophiatown, Joburg

There are far more important issues than Nkandla.

Spending R200 million is justified because the president’s place is a national key point that deserves every cent allocated to it.

In fact, the president’s annual salary should be his monthly salary.

How is the president supposed to survive on R2?million a month?

The president should be earning more so that he can discharge his duties without scrutiny when he upgrades his house.

Other presidents elsewhere are allocated far more.

The renovations have been done. It is water under the bridge.

We should be looking at managing our fiscal policies and creating jobs for the people, not criticising the president every chance we get.

Thokozani Mkhize (27),

Unemployed, Palm Springs, Gauteng

You cannot excuse the reckless spending on a president’s home when millions of people sleep on empty stomachs every day.

People do not have houses and are unemployed, yet you have a president who spends more than R200 million – the same president who is friends with the Guptas and allowed them to land at Waterkloof.

Maybe if it was Mandela I would not feel strongly against this.

I was happy when Jacob Zuma was voted in, but I’m not any more.

Vuyo Mahamba (26),

Academic assistant, Durban

We read and hear about these investigations and reports, but nothing really gets done afterwards.

We hear about all this illegal spending and corruption in government, but we never see any results.

It would be great if there was a finding here and something was done about it.

Of course that amount of money should not be spent on one person.

We have so much information about the president’s spending and his lifestyle, but nothing is ever done about it.

It’s not just the president, actually; it’s the entire system that is wrong.

Whatever Thuli Madonsela’s findings are, the government must do what she recommends this time.

Paul Mathebula (24),

Spare Parts shop owner, Komatipoort

Nkandla is all about Zuma and his many wives, but at a very big cost to us. I don’t think he deserves such a home.

What has he done for us? Mbeki and Mandela did so much better.

I would probably not mind if they built such houses.

I feel like we are somehow being held hostage by one man who uses our money as he pleases, as if we are all rich in this country.

South Africa is going nowhere.

Zuma is not the kind of a president I would like to see leading us.

Those officials responsible for spending our money in Nkandla must be charged.

This expenditure is a crime.

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