Thuli Madonsela speaks out on Nkandla leak

2013-12-01 06:00

The public should not believe the publication of any “purported” provisional reports into the R208 million security upgrades in President Zuma’s Nkandla home because a number of different versions have been written by her office, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has told City Press.

Madonsela believes that any leakage of the report she handed to ministers in the security cluster could only have happened “through their channels”.

She admitted that any leakages, including the recent article by the Mail & Guardian, which reported that Madonsela wants Zuma to repay the state for the upgrades because it constituted a substantial person benefit, could be prejudicial to Zuma and affected parties.

But she was adamant that nothing would jeopardise her investigation or stop the report from being made public.

“The purported provisional report has sidetracked the debate. On the one hand it is prejudging people and on the other hand it is inviting people to find room to attack my integrity. They know I did not leak this report. If I wanted to leak this report I would’ve leaked it long ago, and, if anything, honestly, the one time I would have leaked it was when we were in court at the time we were under attack. Now that everything is back on track what do I have to gain?” said Madonsela.

She was concerned that such leaks dented the integrity of her office and described her Friday meeting with security ministers following the leak, as very cordial.

She said the meeting lasted a few minutes and ministers Nathi Mthethwa, Siyabonga Cwele and Thulas Nxesi only wanted to know that the supposed leak would not affect her investigation.

“The purported leak has placed us in a position of being doubted in terms of the integrity of our process. I am fairly certain that no report has ever leaked from my office before it was given to the parties. I would like one person to show that this one report went public before it was given to any party. We have versions and versions of these reports. Even this one we have versions and versions of the intended provisional report.

“The only document we ever issued that went out of our hands was an intended provisional report that was given to security ministers, not as a provisional report but as an intended provisional report for them to comment on security issues, and to the extent that we may agree with them on security issues, it will then be cleaned up purely on security issues and then a provisional report will come,” said Madonsela.

Next week she would work on “possible scenarios” of how government might respond to the release of the final report and then invite the security experts to talk about their concerns regarding any information that my compromise Zuma’s security.

“The team that deals with this will be painting possible scenarios so that we are able to deal with the way forward, institutionally. The idea is that this report should not depend on me, whether anything happens to me or nothing happens to me, the office is an office and it must be able to conclude whatever it needs to,” said Madonsela.

She was adamant that nothing would stand in the way of her publishing the report.

“I think the public just wants accountability about what really happened, is that what should have happened and what’s the way forward. The public wants closure on this matter. But the parties that are affected also deserve closure, so it is in everyone’s interest to conclude this process as fast as possible,” said Madonsela.

She had not decided where she would send the final report once it has been concluded.

“Personally I haven’t decided where I will send the report. Even if I had decided I wouldn’t tell you. The one thing I can tell you for certain is that there is no legal basis for sending this report to Parliament on the allegations against the President on the Executive Members’ Ethics Act it will be in breach of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act.

“However, this investigation is being done under two acts. So on the one act, the Executive Members’ Ethics Act, there’s no direct line to Parliament. On the other, the Public Protector Act, it’s discretionary, so it is my choice whether I send it to Parliament or not. So there’s no law that says it will go to Parliament. The one law says it will go to the President,” said Madonsela.

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