Madonsela visits Nkandla

2013-08-13 00:00

THE Public Protector, advocate Thuli Madonsela, visited President Jacob Zuma’s private estate at Nkandla yesterday.

The visit was an “inspection in loco”, as part of the investigation by the Office of the Public Protector into R206 million that government departments had spent on improving the president’s private residence.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and senior officials “accompanied Madonsela to support her in her inspection”, the minister’s adviser Mike Ramagoma said.

“The visit is essentially that of the public protector and, except for the support that the minister and the officials will give to her, they will allow her to proceed with her inspection.

“The public protector and the government have agreed that the necessary care needs to be taken to ensure that security is not compromised while this inspection takes place,” Ramagoma said beforehand.

Madonsela earlier told sister paper Beeld that she would take care not to endanger anyone’s personal safety or national security during her visit to the Nkandla estate.

This meant that she might avoid describing in detail any infrastructure if it could have security implications, but she would still make a public finding on such infrastructure.

Last month, Madonsela was quoted as saying her report into alleged irregularities in the Nkandla upgrade was 99% ready.

Madonsela yesterday said she hoped to have her Nkandla report completed by Friday, after which the government will have time to react to it.

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi in June classified as “top secret” his department’s probe into the public spending on Nkandla, using the Minimum Information Security Standards (MISS), a cabinet policy of 1996.

He told Parliament that the report had been classified because its authors were of the view that certain aspects of the security upgrade of Nkandla should not be made public, to avoid compromising security at the president’s private residence.

His deputy, Jeremy Cronin, earlier this year said his department’s probe only looked at construction issues at Nkandla.

This included the cost of construction, how the tenders were managed and if the department had paid too much.

Broader issues, like the specifications of the building and why things were ordered, were not investigated.

These aspects fell outside the brief of Public Works and resided under security, Cronin explained at the time.

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