Thuli Madonsela’s investigative process ‘flawed’

2014-03-28 15:11

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A group of KwaZulu-Natal lawyers and advocates, backed by the provincial leadership of teachers’ union Sadtu, will ask a court to review Public Protector Thuli Mandonsela’s report into the security upgrade of President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home.

The group, which calls itself Concerned Lawyers and Educationists For Equality Before the Law, believes that Madonsela’s investigative process was “flawed’’ and that she had gone public with the release of the report which they feel was “inconclusive” and riddled with “inconsistencies and contradictions.”

The new organisation was formed at the suggestion of Durban attorney and ANC election candidate Comfort Ngidi, who was not at the media briefing this morning at which Mbuyiseni Mathonsi, the provincial secretary of teachers’ union Sadtu, played a leading role.

Mathonsi and fellow Sadtu leader Mabutho Cele said they were there in their capacity as “educationists”, not Sadtu officials, but said that the union’s membership could end up supporting the initiative.

Speaking on behalf of the group, attorney Solomzi Mdledle said a team had been appointed to draw up papers for the action, which would challenge Madonsela’s process and her findings and would also ask the court to pronounce on the extent of her powers to investigate and recommend remedial action.

“There are glaring flaws, inaccuracies, inconsistencies and contradictions in the report which has promoted this forum to stand up and say that we cannot seat (sic) back and watch when we observe the miscarriage of justice take (sic) place in front of our own eyes,” a statement presented to the briefing by Mdledle said.

It said that the procedures adopted by Madonsela had not complied with the principles of natural justice. She had not applied the procedures outlined in Section 7 (4) (a) of the Public Protector Act, by making findings based on a telephonic interview and on interviews and documents obtained from the Mail and Guardian website.

It said Mandonsela was wrong to say Zuma should pay back a “reasonable percentage’’ of the expenditure, when she had not yet determined by how much Zuma had allegedly benefited.

“The report finds that the President benefited from the improvements that were made to his home but fails to state the value of the benefit. The reason why she failed to put a figure on the value of the alleged benefit is a typical example of the failure to properly investigate and make a finding based on facts,’’ it said.

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