Nkandla upgrades: Zuma should have done something, says Madonsela

2015-08-03 14:22
Thuli Madonsela (Genevieve Quintal, News24)

Thuli Madonsela (Genevieve Quintal, News24)

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Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma should have asked about the costly upgrades to his Nkandla homestead and stopped the process, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said on Monday 

"The key findings on the president's conduct... relate to what I made to the president having been alerted to irregularities as early as 2009," she said at a media briefing in Pretoria. 

"My answer whether or not the president should have done something to stop or inquire... is yes, the president should have done something.

"Public servants return money to government regularly when overpaid by the state."

With regards to claims that her office specifically targeted Zuma, she said: "The report and all our functionaries who played a part, or had to have, played a part in determining what was procured [for the upgrades]."

Madonsela was addressing the National Assembly Speaker and MPs through the media at the briefing, as she was not invited to address Parliament on her Nkandla report. 

"I am deeply saddened that I have to use the media as a platform to address you," she said. 

"I'm further convinced, honourable Speaker, that this mechanism of engagement was not envisaged by the architects of our Constitution.

"I chose this platform to advise you on Constitutional requirements of the Public Protector... and respond to utterances my office views as misinformation about my report."

Madonsela's report found that Zuma had to pay back a portion of the money used for non-security upgrades to his homestead as he unduly benefited from them. 

At the briefing, Madonsela compared her office with that of the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) and the Auditor General.

"None of these [bodies] have had committees established to do counter audits or probes.

"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." 

'Unfair and untrue'

She also dealt with criticism that the Nkandla report was released through the media. 

"The practice of releasing Public Protector reports through media briefings has always been set... and is a global practice," she said. 

"The investigation was requested by an MP... this meant that the manner of reporting was determined by the Executive Ethics Members Act."

She said her report was given to Zuma before it was released to the public. 

"According to Section 8 of Public Protector Act, there is no obligation for the Public Protector to submit any report to Parliament.

"The allegation regarding failure to favour Parliament with reports is unfair and untrue."

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

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