Nkandla report cost application to be heard

2013-11-14 20:21
(Picture: City Press)

(Picture: City Press)

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Johannesburg - Argument on who should pay for a bid to stop the public protector from releasing a draft report on President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla residence will be heard on Friday.

"Yes, as far as we are aware the court [North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria] will only hear the cost application tomorrow and that's all," said Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's spokesperson Kgalalelo Masibi on Thursday.

Earlier, a cluster of ministers filed an affidavit in which they said they would abandon their action opposing the release of the Nkandla report.

They said it would be academic to persist with action as they had already secured the extension of time needed from the court.

Madonsela's report contains details about a R206m upgrade to Zuma's KwaZulu-Natal homestead.

The report was given to the security cluster on 1 November, following a special request for access ahead of all other parties to establish whether its contents would compromise Zuma's security.

The cluster filed an urgent application last week to prevent Madonsela from releasing the report.

On Wednesday, Madonsela made public her court documents opposing the interdict. In them she said the State had made several attempts to stop her investigation.

The ministers dismissed this claim in their affidavit, saying they never interfered with or obstructed Madonsela's investigation.

"The only interest the applicants have in this matter is where security issues arise. We have a constitutional obligation to preserve national security, which ordinarily includes the security of the head of state," they said.

"This cannot be interpreted to be interference with the office of the respondent."

Releasing the report

The ministers said they had no desire to dictate to Madonsela about how and when to release the report.

"The allegations that the respondent and her investigation team were obstructed and frustrated in performing her functions are not correct," the document reads.

The cluster would argue that Madonsela was not an expert on state security and could not be an arbiter on whether or not the contents of the report could result in a security breach.

"I deny that the respondent or any of her investigators are security experts with the necessary experience to deal with the security concerns," the ministers said.

"We are constitutionally mandated to protect national security and it is for this reason only that we requested additional time to provide the respondent with a comprehensive list of security breaches together with the relevant justifications for their omission from her... report."

Masibi was unable to comment on the contents of the affidavit.

Police ministry spokesperson Zweli Mnisi referred all queries to government spokesperson Phumla Williams. She could not be reached for comment.

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

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