Madonsela receives Zuma's letter

2014-09-12 11:06
File: Sapa

File: Sapa

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Johannesburg - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has received President Jacob Zuma's letter written in response to her reminder that he has failed to heed her findings on Nkandla, her office said on Friday.

"The public protector received the letter on Thursday afternoon," spokesman Oupa Segalwe said.

"She is considering the contents thereof. She will not comment on the contents as she does not wish to engage with the president in the media."

In the letter, Zuma said he could not and should not give blanket acceptance to Madonsela's reports.

The president said he "must respectfully disagree" with Madonsela's view that her reports and recommendations can only be reviewed by a court of law, and not by ministers or the Cabinet.

Useful tools

"The role of the Public Protector is akin to that of an ombudsman and quite distinct from that of the judge," he argued in the letter, released to the media by his office.

"Similarly, reports emanating from a public protector process are not judgments to be followed under pain of a contempt order, but rather, useful tools in assisting democracy in a co-operative manner, sometimes rather forcefully."

Zuma said the public protector arrived at her findings without the "adversarial hearing" inherent in a court process, and this was a "significant factor to caution me against a blanket acceptance without applying my own mind".

Therefore his role was not simply to rubberstamp her findings.

Zuma is facing sustained criticism for not complying with Madonsela's order that he reimburse the state for improvements such a swimming pool and chicken run built at his homestead in Nkandla as part of a R246m project originally destined to upgrade security.

Parliamentary process

The president last month deferred a decision as to whether he was liable to repay any funds to Police Minister Nathi Nhleko.

In his letter, he said he stood by this decision.

He urged Madonsela to let the parliamentary process around the Nkandla controversy unfold.

The legislature has established an ad hoc committee to weigh her findings, as well as that of the Special Investigating Unit, a ministerial task team and the president's response to all of three, submitted last month.

Zuma's office on Thursday submitted the SIU's final report to Parliament, after many delays - partly blamed by the agency on difficulty in gaining access to the Nkandla property.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  thuli madonsela  |  nkandla upgrade

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