Nkandla matter may go to court, says Madonsela

Johannesburg - If President Jacob Zuma fails to implement the remedial action the Public Protector suggested in her report on his private home in Nkandla, the matter might be taken to court, Thuli Madonsela said on Monday.

Speaking on The Justice Factor on eNCA, Madonsela encouraged Zuma to approach the courts himself to settle the matter once and for all.

"We are now at the level of oversight, where the role players become the Public Protector, the President, Parliament and ultimately the courts.

"The best authority to take this matter to court would be the President. To just get the court to say 'What really should he do now?' and secondly, 'What should be the powers of the Public Protector?'"

She said this would ultimately improve Zuma's relationship with the Public Protector's office.

"That would assist him to have a proper relationship with this office during my term and long after I'm gone, because this office is supposed to assist him in so far as the enforcement of the Executive Ethics Act is concerned."

Remedial action

She said she expected Zuma to pay a portion of the money spent on non-security upgrades at his private home, as she had recommended in March 2014 in her report titled Secure In Comfort, in which she found Zuma and his family had unduly benefited from non-security upgrades.

"What I expect to happen is just the implementation of the remedial action and should that not happen, then this matter needs to go to court... should the President have any difficulty with the implication of remedial action, he is supposed to engage me... and that has not happened."

Madonsela said the National Treasury and the SA Revenue Services were supposed to assist Zuma in determining exactly how much was spent on non-security upgrades and what reasonable portion of that amount he should pay.

"He still has to make the decision because he alone has to make that decision. The minister of police is not the executive authority, he is not the head of the executive, he does not hold executive authority over the public, that authority lies with the president."

Police minister’s report

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko told reporters last Thursday that Zuma was not required to pay back any money spent on a new cattle and goat kraal, a chicken coop, a cattle culvert, swimming pool, dubbed a "fire pool", visitors' centre and amphitheatre, saying they were all strategic assets.

Addressing reporters, Nhleko said that, in fact, they found that more improvements were needed for the fire safety aspects and recommended a range of additional measures at the homestead.

He said Zuma's privacy had been violated in an unprecedented way since allegations that taxpayer money had been spent on non-security related aspects of the upgrades.

Madonsela believed there were a number of misstatements, inaccuracies, incomplete information, innuendos and false accusations in Nhleko's report in relation to her own. She would write to Zuma to clarify these.

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