DA backs protector, points finger at Zuma
Cape Town - It is up to President Jacob Zuma, not Parliament, to ensure steps are taken against "those found guilty of misconduct", the Democratic Alliance said on Friday.
The DA was deeply concerned by the apparent disregard of senior ANC members for the mandate of the public protector's office, DA spokesperson Dianne Kohler-Barnard said in a statement.
"Comments by ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa that Parliament should table, debate, and, if necessary, amend the Public Protector's report on the dodgy SA Police Service (SAPS) lease deals are deeply problematic," she said.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that national police commissioner Bheki Cele and Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde's conduct was improper, unlawful, and amounted to maladministration.
Madonsela also called for action to be taken against those implicated in her report.
"It is now up to President Jacob Zuma, not Parliament, to ensure that the necessary disciplinary steps are taken against those found guilty of misconduct," Kohler-Barnard said.
The independence of the protector's office was guaranteed by the Constitution. Parliament had no mandate whatsoever to amend the protector's report, despite what Phosa asserted.
"It is not Parliament that is 'supreme', as Mr Phosa argues, but the Constitution.
While there might be merit to Parliament discussing the report to facilitate the oversight process and ensure that the executive acted on its findings, the decision about what action would be taken against those found guilty of wrongdoing could, and should, be made by the President alone, she said.
It was unacceptable that, more than a week after Madonsela released her report into the SAPS lease deals, neither Zuma, nor Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, nor Cele, nor Mahlangu-Nkabinde had commented directly on the report's findings.
"These are not the actions of an administration that respects transparency, accountability, and the constitutional mandate of the Public Protector.
"Now is the time for President Zuma to show real leadership, to show that he is serious about combating corruption and maladministration and, importantly, to show that he is able to put the needs of the country ahead of the needs of his party.
"Those implicated in the public protector's report simply must be held to account, rigorously and visibly so, for the manner in which they conduct their affairs," Kohler-Barnard said.
Zuma's spokesperson Mac Maharaj said Zuma was still "working" on Madonsela's report.
"The president is currently attending to the contents of the report."
He had to, among other things, engage with Mthethwa and Mahlangu-Nkabinde on the content.
In dealing with a matter of such seriousness, it was imperative that due process be followed, Maharaj said.