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Zuma: “Public Protector is not a judge”

By admin
12 September 2014

President Jacob Zuma has responded to Thuli Madonsela, telling her he disagrees with her view that reports of the Public Protector are not subject to review by a minister or Cabinet.

In his response, Zuma told Madonsela that she was not a judge; her reports are not court judgments, her reports were only useful tools and recommendations.

“The role of the Public Protector is akin to that of an Ombud and quite distinct from that of a judge. Similarly, reports emanating from a Public Protector process are not judgements to be followed under pain of a contempt order, but rather useful tools in assisting democracy in a co-operative manner, sometimes rather forcefully,” he wrote.

Zuma said Madonsela was wrong when she says that her reports are not subject to reviews and that he cannot be forced to rubberstamp her findings without applying his mind to them first.

“Should my election only be to review your decision or rubberstamp it, I would be failing in the discharge of my own constitutional responsibilities, acting in an irrational manner and flouting the principles of legality.”

He said he had given the responsibility of deciding whether he is liable for any repayments in respect of upgrades to his Nkandla estate to Police Minister Nathi Nhleko because he could not be a judge in his own case.

“I consider the Minister of Police to be the appropriate functionary for the purpose and reasons tendered in my report to the National Assembly.”

-         City Press