Zuma 'processing' police lease report
Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma is systematically processing the public protector's report into two leases for new police headquarters, the presidency said on Sunday.
It was reacting to a Democratic Alliance claim made earlier in the day that Zuma had been silent on the matter and had not taken the appropriate action.
"In fact, the president made a speech to the media on August 4 that he was submitting a report to the speaker [of Parliament] on that same day," said presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj.
"This shows how seriously and systematically he is processing the public protector's report... that is because corruption is a serious problem in this country," he said.
Last month, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said the Durban lease would have been worth R1.16bn over 10 years, and that of the Middestad Building in Pretoria, R604m over the same period.
The DA announced on Sunday that it had laid criminal charges against police chief General Bheki Cele, Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, businessman Roux Shabangu, and Public Works Director General Siviwe Dongwana.
"It's a pity that the DA hasn't been able to get its basic facts right and has rushed for a publicity-seeking stunt," said Maharaj.
In a statement, DA federal chairperson Wilmot James and justice and constitutional development spokesperson Debbie Schafer said the charges laid against Cele had been brought under the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and the Government Immovable Asset Management Act.
Mahlangu-Nkabinde had been accused of contravening the Public Protector Act by failing to co-operate with the public protector and continuing to implement the lease agreements.
The DA said it had also laid charges against her and Shabangu under the Intimidation Act for their treatment of Dongwana.
The party had laid charges against him for allegedly contravening PFMA and Treasury regulations by failing to report to the Treasury and the auditor general the reasons for deviating from a competitive tender process.
"We have waited for the president [Jacob Zuma] to take appropriate action, but after a long silence all that has been forthcoming was an announcement on Friday that he would submit his 'preliminary response' to the National Assembly next Friday, and that he believes there are 'some aspects that ... need further clarity'," said James and Schafer.
Although Zuma expressed support for Chapter Nine institutions and his commitment to transparency and good governance, he failed to act accordingly, they said.
Zuma has reportedly accepted the protector's findings on the two leases and a recommendation of remedial action
The Sunday Tribune reported that he did so in a letter to Madonsela, according to her spokesperson Kgalelo Masibi.
Madonsela was "happy" with the response, but had urged Zuma to take action.
She told the Sunday Tribune she expected Parliament to play an oversight role if no action was taken.
Masibi said Madonsela expected Zuma to "weigh the transgression and decide on the remedial action to be taken within a reasonable time frame".
She had given the department of public works and the police 30 days to submit action plans to her office and 60 days to implement remedial actions.