Madonsela ‘doesn’t owe govt answers’

2014-04-09 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Public Protector Thuli Madonsela does not owe the government any direct answers about her Nkandla report.

She reports to Parliament, not to the executive branch, constitutional expert Professor Marinus Wiechers said yesterday.

He was reacting to a letter from minister’s in the cabinet’s security cluster to Madonsela requesting “clarity” on “several areas” of her report.

Opposition parties said the step, by the same ministers who dragged Madonsela to court last year in an attempt to interdict her report, is intimidation.

Government spokesperson Phumla Williams said in a statement yesterday that following a “detailed” reading of the report, the ministers of Justice, Police, State Security and Defence want clarification of areas they found “confusing”.

They have therefore written to the public protector asking for an explanation, more information and clarity.

The next step was for the office of the public protector to respond, after which “we will be able to make a more informed decision on the way forward”.

Williams said Madonsela’s office had an enormous responsibility to ensure its findings were factually accurate and consistent with the law.

DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said the ministers must keep their hands off the PP. She said DA had noted the letter with concern.

“To demand yet another opportunity for ‘clarification’ … is a desperate attempt to distract from the now imminent parliamentary process.”

Freedom Front Plus chief whip Corné Mulder said the letter was intimidating and “out of order”.

Wiechers said that as an Article 9 institution, the PP had no duty to respond to the minister. “What she should do is say [Assembly Speaker] Max Sisulu is going to establish a committee to look at the report. If they are looking for answers, they should refer this to the committee. They must sort it out.”

Sisulu’s spokesperson Luzuko Jacobs was not able to officially confirm Sisulu’s reported decision to set up an ad-hoc committee to study the report.

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