We’re not blaming Madonsela, says Mantashe on ‘suspicious’ Nkandla report delay

2014-01-26 06:00

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has reiterated the party’s discomfort with the delay of the release of the Nkandla report by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, describing it as “suspicious”.

Mantashe spoke to City Press yesterday on the sidelines of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) lekgotla.

Mantashe rejected Madonsela’s assertion that the party should not point fingers at her for causing the delay of the release of the report, but should rather look within the party.

Reacting to criticism by the ANC for the delay, after Madonsela announced that one of the “affected parties” requested to be given more time to respond to her preliminary findings, she said the ANC should look within its ranks for the person who had asked for the extension, which will delay the release of the Nkandla report to next month.

“It is customary that we don’t reveal such information. The ANC is aware of who the party in question is,” said Madonsela.

But Mantashe took exception to Madonsela’s contention that the delay was caused by a member of the ANC.

“We’re not doing the investigation, we’re not the Public Protector, and how can we know? We’re not blaming her.

We’re saying delaying the report is creating all sorts of contradictions in society and it looks suspicious from where we’re sitting,” said Mantashe, who said Madonsela had not stuck to the deadlines she had set herself late last year that the report would be released by the end of this month.

Mantashe also spoke briefly about the NEC meeting and the lekgotla, which began yesterday and ends today.

The lekgotla assesses the progress made by the party in government.

Discussions of the lekgotla included the economy, jobs, decent work, sustainable livelihoods, education, health, rural development and agrarian reform, as well as the fight against crime and corruption. The party receives reports from its sub-committees on these sectors.

During its NEC meeting, the party also pledged to deal decisively with corruption.

Mantashe was unhappy that the ANC’s achievements in the fight against corruption were not being highlighted.

“The ANC is going to be tough on corruption. It has always been hard. There are many people who have actually been removed from many serious positions, but every time there’s an allegation that goes to the public, [it’s said] that the ANC does nothing about corruption. But when you list the number of people, you ask yourself why people can’t see there’s this number of people who have actually been impacted upon by being accused.

“Many of them [ANC leaders accused of corruption] get accused on the strength of the Public Protector’s reports. They are not found guilty by any court of law, but people tend to have this argument that you’re doing nothing about corruption but results and statistics out there tell you that a lot has been done about corruption,” said Mantashe

He hinted that ANC members found guilty of fraud or corruption in court and sentenced to 12 months and longer, without the option of a fine, would automatically be removed from the party lists that could get members deployed in government.

ANC leaders who face fraud and/or corruption allegations, including Dina Pule, Pule Mabe, Humphrey Mmemezi and John Block, have made it onto the party’s list for Parliament and provincial legislatures.

Mantashe said the ANC would not tamper with the first 25 names on the lists, according to the rules of the ANC.

The ANC would only ask members to step down from government positions if they were found guilty in court, said Mantashe.

“Can the Public Protector’s reports disqualify people from going to Parliament? No, it [Madonsela’s office] has no such power.

If you’re in a court of law, you’re not convicted, you can deal with it politically and people can volunteer [to step down from positions].

You can’t [force people to step down] if they’re accused and say you can’t go to Parliament because what will happen if that person goes to court and is acquitted?” he said.

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