Thuli Madonsela: These are the facts about Nkandla leak

2013-12-04 18:06

The ANC has welcomed Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s intention to meet with the party to set the record straight regarding “incorrect statements” made by the party’s secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, and his deputy, Jessie Duarte.

Addressing the media in KwaMhlanga, north of Pretoria, today, Madonsela hit out at Mantashe and Duarte for suggesting that she was sitting on the Nkandla report for political reasons.

Madonsela also vehemently denied that she was responsible for leaking a provisional report into the R208 million upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home, arguing that there was nothing she would have gained by leaking the report.

She said there were four incorrect statements that were made by the ANC leaders when they addressed the media in Joburg yesterday around the leaked report.

These were:

1. Duarte’s statement that it was Madonsela’s office that had leaked the draft report on security upgrades to the Mail & Guardian newspaper last week.

Madonsela said the truth was that the ANC leaders had relied on “a statement released by my office last week which says exactly the opposite. Please read the statement yourselves,” she said.

2. Mantashe’s claim that she planned to release the final report around March next year ahead of the elections for political reasons.

Madonsela said: “I never said the report will be released in March next year. I said I was trying to have the report released by the end of the year but the likelihood is that it will be released in January 2014. The statements that we have issued have consistently said the report will be released, at the latest, by mid-January.”

3. The claim that she had released the report to affected and interested parties.

“The truth is I have never shared a provisional report with affected and implicated [parties]. I shared a draft provisional report only with five security cluster ministers who were given electronic copies with passwords. They, without talking to me, decided to share the report with their departments,” said Madonsela.

4. The claim that Madonsela was responsible for the leak to newspapers in the Independent group, which reported that her report clears Zuma in the Nkandla saga.

“The truth is that the article itself said two senior officials had informed the author. The issue I raised with the Sunday Times is that it is wrong to leak all reports, not just the last one. I never endorsed any leaked reports. There are two versions of the leaked reports,” Madonsela said.

She said the media had reported on two different versions of the report, one which absolved Zuma and another which placed the blame for the upgrades at his doorstep.

“The first was covered by the Independent [Newspapers] claiming the provisional report absolves the president of wrongdoing, quoting a source in government. The second is the version covered by the Mail & Guardian. The comment in the Sunday Times was saying in my understanding there are two versions of the leaked report. Why [was] there no outrage shown on the first coverage of the purported leaked report?” said Madonsela.

Madonsela, however, said she was in agreement with Mantashe that provisional reports should not be leaked, adding that affected parties such as Zuma would be affected “negatively” by leaked reports.

She was not concerned that the leaks had damaged her office’s integrity and that of the reports she is yet to release to the public.

Madonsela also said the ministers in the security cluster had since given her the names of security officials who will tackle the concerns surrounding comments in her report that could jeopardise Zuma’s security.

The ANC, in its statement, reiterated that the responsibility to ensure there were no leaks rested with Madonsela herself.

“The ANC wants to assure all people of South Africa, including the office of the Public Protector, that there was no intention and there will never be any intention on the part of the ANC to inhibit the work of the Public Protector. We expect her to do her work without fear, favour or prejudice,” said ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu in a statement. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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