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Cape Town - Cosatu has welcomed the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's finding that Police Commissioner Bheki Cele was guilty of "maladministration" in the attempt to lease a Durban building for R1.16bn.
In a statement issued late on Friday, Cosatu said it called on President Jacob Zuma to follow Madonsela's advice "to do the right thing".
On Thursday Madonsela released her damming report titled "Against the Rules Too" into the lease of a new police headquarters in Durban by the SA Police Service and the department of public works. This was her second report showing that neither department had followed tender processes and national treasury regulations.
Mandonsela also fingered Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde for not cooperating with the public protector's investigation.
Her report said the building would have been leased for R125m/s while its market related value was only R40m/s.
During her press conference, Madonsela suggested that businessman Roux Shabangu whose company Roux Property Fund owned the buildings had received information "that amounted to insider trading".
According to the Cosatu statement, the labour federation agreed with the Public Protector recommendation that Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa should "discipline" Cele, and with her suggestion that President Jacob Zuma review the position of Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde.
However, Cosatu disputed Madonsela's argument that there was insufficient evidence to establish criminality. "But surely this is a form of corruption, just like price-fixing, which is illegal and amounts to theft from the public," Cosatu said.
It went on to say that: "Millions of rands of public money is being squandered to line the pockets of corrupt business people and public servants. A culture of abuse has mushroomed and is spreading.
"Allegations of corruption and the misuse of public funds are piling up and, while we welcome the probes being made by ministers like Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale, the president needs to allay fears that the perception is that we are sinking into becoming a corruption-ridden banana republic," it said.
Cosatu said it hoped that President Zuma would respond swiftly to the Public protector's reports.
On Friday, Zuma's office issued a statement saying: "The Presidency will accordingly study the report and allow the due processes of its internal discussion. Thereafter, the president will comment on the report."
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The value of a property owned by the Gupta family in Johannesburg has dropped from R16.8m to R490 000, according to the latest municipal valuation - lower than the price it was sold for in 1994, a report says.
Six people have been arrested for murder and rape in Inanda, KwaZulu-Natal police say.
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