Madonsela stands by her report, will write to Zuma

2015-05-29 22:35
Nkandla. Picture: City Press

Nkandla. Picture: City Press

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Johannesburg - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela will write to President Jacob Zuma to point out limitations in Police Minister Nathi Nhleko's Nkandla report, her office said on Friday.

She said she stood by her own report and wanted to ensure that Zuma was "placed in a position to make an informed decision not based on withheld or distorted information".

On Thursday, while delivering the final report into the upgrades at the KwaZulu-Natal homestead, Nhleko told reporters in Cape Town that Zuma was not required to pay back any money spent on the upgrades.

Nhleko's report was contrary to Madonsela's report Secure in Comfort released in March 2014, which found that he had to pay back a "reasonable" portion of the money spent on upgrades not related to security.

Nhleko had cleared Zuma of any financial liability for a new cattle and goat kraal, a chicken coop, a cattle culvert, swimming pool, dubbed a "firepool", visitors' centre and amphitheatre, saying they were all strategic assets.

"Accordingly, the State President is therefore not liable to pay for any of the security features," said Nhleko.

On Friday Madonsela said matters of executive excesses and conduct should be subjected to the scrutiny of independent institutions that operated outside the executive.

"She is of the view that Minister Nhleko gave the matter his best [attention] and that he applied his mind to the issues at hand. [She] believes the shortcomings of the minister’s report are partly due to the fact that the minister is a member of an executive, whose members, including the minister’s supervisor, are among the public functionaries found to have acted improperly in the report."

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 said Nhleko’s report had incorrectly stated that she found that no public funds were used to build Zuma's houses.

"This could not be further from the truth."

According to her report she said: "President Zuma told Parliament that his family had built its own houses and the state had not built any of it or benefited them. This was not true. It is common cause that in the name of security, government built for the President and his family at his private residence a visitor’s centre …"

The visitor’s centre was a double story building, she said.

She also says Nhleko's claim that her report said there was no need for a water source to help in the event a fire broke out at the residence, was also false.

"As can be gleaned from paragraph 10.3.2 of the Public Protector’s report: 'Measures that should never have been implemented as they are neither provided for in the regulatory instruments, particularly the Cabinet Policy of 2003, the Minimum Physical Security Standards and the SAPS Security Evaluation Reports, nor reasonable, as the most cost effective to meet incidental security needs, include … a swimming pool …'"

During the media briefing 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 tax payer money had been spent on non-security related aspects of the upgrades.

Read more on:    public protector  |  jacob zuma  |  nathi nhleko  |  thuli madonsela  |  nkandla upgrade
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