‘If you think Constitution is being trampled on, do something’ – Madonsela

2015-08-03 13:30

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has challenged ordinary South Africans, telling them that if they think the Constitution is being trampled on, they should do something about it.


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Last Updated at 10:32
03 Aug 14:25
And that is a wrap. Public Protector Thuli Madonsela concludes her press briefing, adding her voice to the many questions raised about her report 'Secure in Comfort' following Police Minister Nathi Nhleko's Nkandla report earlier in July.

Read on for how her press briefing unfolded...

03 Aug 14:22

Last Question: Why not approach the court to make final decision on Nkandla?

“I will go under extreme circumstances. I believe the people of South Africa have to protect this office. I am in this office temporarily If the people of South Africa feel that the Constitution is being trampled on... let the people do something about it"

03 Aug 14:18

Q: Do you think your office has just become a 'political football'?

“In terms of executive ethics, members act only MPs can refer matters to the Public Protector.

“I didn't make that decision, the architects of our Constitution did that.

“It has been members of opposition and governing party who have lodged complaints with us.

“If somebody can tell me what is it we do that makes this office a ‘political football’, I’d love to know.”

03 Aug 14:11
“With regards to resources, whether this bickering has had a crippling effect on our resources. I don't think so,” Madonsela replies.

03 Aug 14:10

“The issue about me retweeting...”

“My retweets are not endorsements. I have retweeted things when people are insulting me.

“I retweet to inform people and share info.

“If I like an idea or agree with an idea I favourite the tweet..."

03 Aug 14:08

Q: Why have you not been invited to Parliament?

“I have not been given any reasons why I have not been invited to Parliament.”

“My understanding is that they just have to engage us, even if they don’t necessarily agree with what I say.”

03 Aug 14:06
“In September, the Supreme Court of Appeal will be sitting to discuss the powers of the Public Protector.”

03 Aug 14:05
“We have sought legal opinion on contempt. I have asked my team to put their heads together on that.”

03 Aug 14:00

03 Aug 14:00

"Somebody has to still persuade me what part of my report is unsound," says Madonsela.

"No new information has come to us."

03 Aug 13:58

Madonsela: “There's been a lot that has been said about the report but none of it goes to specific pages.”  

“The Interesting thing about the criticism is it's very wide.

“I'm not aware of what part of the report is unsound.”

03 Aug 13:56
Madonsela: “There's been a lot that has been said about the report but none of it goes to specific pages.”

03 Aug 13:55

Question on further spending: Do you believe more money should be spent on Nkandla?

Q: Ad hoc committee said your report was not sound... do you stand by your report?

Q: Nkandla left to neglect, is this cause just for further investigation?

03 Aug 13:50

Q: If there is a refusal to hear you, what does it mean in your mind for the legitimacy of this investigation?

“I still don’t think I should take legal action (if Parliament doesn't allow her to come speak),” answers Madonsela.

“I indicated some gaps in the entire process and clarified some misunderstandings.

“I don't know why the first ad hoc committee excluded my input.

“You cannot do to the Public Protector what you cannot do to the IEC or AG.

“Hopefully after this conversation today the speaker will advice her colleagues.

“I'm not saying that the secure in comfort report is the reason we haven't received money.

“This office desperately needs resources.

“From Parliament I have not received letters of acknowledgement for letters I have written to the Speaker.

“Presidency has sent letters of acknowledgment and we have had correspondence.

“The president responds to our letters.”

03 Aug 13:47
The Public Protector now turns to a time of Q&A...

03 Aug 13:47

“This office and other integrity institutions have an enormous roll to play.

“I appeal we stop personalising matters.

“This is important for government to play a central role in driving delivery.

“I once again advise that my office is available to assist the National Assembly... by presenting an overview of the report or answering any questions about upgrades to the president's home."

03 Aug 13:46

Madonsela going through how her office has been treated since the report was released...

“My team and I are concerned the safety valve our office is to provide is being eroded. “This office's ability to strengthen Constitutional democracy is being eroded.

“Honourable Speaker in the doc building a united nation... the provision regarding the Public Protector stated that the Constitution shall empower the poor and vulnerable and so set up the SAHRC and the Public Protector.

03 Aug 13:41

Following up on remedial action on the secure in comfort report has been done... “It wasn't targetting the presidency,” Madonsela says.

“Honourable speaker, the bickering which has included support of this office's request for more funding...

“I'm appealing to the National Assembly to collectively exercise leadership “Since the bickering started, we are witnessing worrying defiant trends.”

03 Aug 13:37

“There is no legal basis for setting us an internal executive structure to re-investigate matter dealt with by chapter 9 institution.

“This does not mean that the president or another institution affected by a Public Protector report may not seek advice in assessing a report of a chapter 9 institution in view of engaging with such a report.

“The proper process is for the president to evaluate what the minister says to him and go back to Parliament to give a full account to Parliament.

“I would like to place on record... that nowhere does the Public Protector report advice the president to engage the minister of police with a view to determine a fair amount to be paid by him.

“I further place on record that the appropriate paragraph asked the president to make the determination himself with the help of National Treasury.”

03 Aug 13:35

Visitor’s centre - issue is not size or opulence

“The issue is its justifiability on 2 grounds, necessity to procure it and authority to procure it.

“It was not listed by the authorised security experts after threat assessment.

“It was an item requested by presidency in the minutes.

“During inspection in loco there was an unused building which could have done the same job.

“Issue was it was not security experts who recommended it.”

03 Aug 13:33

Kraal, chicken run

“The president never denied asking for a larger kraal.

“He has further never denied stating that this was one thing he was prepared to pay for.

“My determination that it was not a security feature was because it was not on the list... which guided the upgrading of the security of homes of presidents, former presidents etc.”

03 Aug 13:31

The amphitheatre

"The label was given by the task team and architects. It is them who indicates the amphitheatre is for dual purpose gatherings and soil retention"

03 Aug 13:30

“Such names appear in the architectural designs, minutes, memos and docs.

“The swimming pool - In the minutes and doc the swimming pool is referred to as a swimming pool.

“In the minutes, request from presidency to convert fire pool to swimming pool. As minutes progress the item is flagged.

“We later find the fire pool had been converted to the ‘fire pool’.

“There was an amount to be paid by the owner for the conversion."

03 Aug 13:24

Authority for naming and classification of items for security and non-security features.

“We didn’t impose ourselves as investigators as experts on what is a security item and what is not.

“There are instruments created to help security experts determine what is to be installed.

“A simple reading of the Secure in Comfort report would show it was the task team which installed the items and named them.”

03 Aug 13:22

Madonsela is now addressing the suggestions her report targets the president...

“The report and all our reports examine all functionaries who played a part or had to have played a part in determining what was to be procured.

“If you look into the report... we deal with findings against all the ministers and deputy ministers involved.

“The presidency has been asked about progress in this area as we have done in other reports.

“Unfortunately no progresses have been reported.

“The report identifies all key players in procurement etc.”

03 Aug 13:19
Key findings relating to ministers and deputy ministers...

03 Aug 13:18

“I also took into account the determinations made by authorised security experts from security services," says Madonsela.

“My answer regarding whether or not the president should have done something to stop or enquire... was yes the president should have done something.

“Finding that Zuma and his family had unduly benefitted was nothing to do with president making admissions.”

03 Aug 13:15
“The issue is whether the value of his estate had been unduly increased through such installations which should never have been installed.”

03 Aug 13:14

Another issue - the key findings made, and remedial action relating to the president.

"Key findings on the president's conduct... relate to the president having been alerted to irregularities as early as 2009."

03 Aug 13:12

03 Aug 13:10

“My answer regarding whether or not the president should have done something to stop or enquire... was yes the president should have done something.

“Finding that Zuma and his family had unduly benefitted was nothing to do with the president making admissions.”

03 Aug 13:09

“According to section 8 of the Public Protector Act, there is no obligation of the public protector to submit any report to Parliament.

“This office has never failed to present a requested report.”

03 Aug 13:06

03 Aug 13:04

"Parliament's role is oversight and not executive action Media briefings - the practice of releasing Public Protector reports through media briefing has always been set and is a global practice.

"It ensures openness and transparency.

"The report was given to Zuma before it was released to the public."

03 Aug 12:59

“It is not contemplated that any reasonable person could reconcile such conduct with constitutional requirements.

“I have asked you to look into the matter [speaking to the Speaker].

“I'm not saying that a committee would be asked to investigate the matter or review my report.”

03 Aug 12:57

"The independence of the Public protector will be vital to ensuring effective, accountable and responsible government.

I can also not imagine a discussion of the AG or IEC report without engaging with these institutions.

I also can't imagine members of the National Assembly making disparaging remarks without engaging them."

03 Aug 12:53

"Honourable Speaker, in view of the establishment clause of the Public Protector... there is no additional, or special accountability for the Public Protector"

Madonsela compares her office with that of the IEC and AG.

"None of these (IEC, AG) have had committees established to do counter audits or probes."

03 Aug 12:50
Madonsela is now going through the role of the Public Protector...

03 Aug 12:48

“People will have faith in the office if they know the public protector will act impartially and protect their rights.

“Public needs to believe the Public Protector will not be influenced.

“I wonder if the political conduct we have seen is consistent with the NDP.”

03 Aug 12:45
“As the attacks are released by all and sundry... without reference to specific offensive extracts from the report... I would have wondered what would President Mandela make of these events.”

03 Aug 12:44
Secure in Comfort was the 11th, executive ethics report I realised since being Public Protector.

03 Aug 12:41
"Madonsela: in 20 years of existence, the office of the Public Protector has never received such vitriolic attacks as it did after the Nkandla report."

03 Aug 12:40
Madonsela talks about "misinformation" about her report, such as the fact that she never asked for the Police minister to review.

03 Aug 12:40

03 Aug 12:39
“I'm further convinced honourable speaker that this mechanism of engagement was not envisaged by the architects of our constitution.”

03 Aug 12:39

Speaking to the national assembly, “This is not my preferred medium to address you.

"The house decided not to invite me to address Parliament on this matter.

03 Aug 12:38
“I am deeply saddened to address the nation through the media,” says Madonsela.

03 Aug 12:37
Thuli Madonsela starts to speak...

03 Aug 12:35

On Thursday evening, Parliament’s Nkandla ad hoc committee used its ANC majority to vote against calling Madonsela to be questioned about her report into the R246 million upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s rural KwaZulu-Natal homestead.

Addressing the ad hoc committee on Thursday, ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga said Madonsela had misled South Africa about Nkandla.

"We should not, and cannot, apologise when we say the report of the public protector is misleading and has misled the nation,” he said.

03 Aug 12:34

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