Radebe: Madonsela has final say

2013-11-09 18:27
Jeff Radebe (File, Sapa)

Jeff Radebe (File, Sapa)

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Cape Town - Justice Minister Jeff Radebe conceded on Saturday that government has no say on whether Public Protector Thuli Madonsela should classify her report into the R206m upgrade to President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead.

"Government has no role in deciding how the public protector deals with a report, even in this case. It is the public protector who herself gave us the report so we can check up on security concerns," he told journalists in Pretoria. .

"Whether she [Madonsela] makes the report public or confidential, those are decisions that lie at the discretion of the public protector. We as the executive have no role to play."

Radebe and his colleague in the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster, State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele briefed media on the rationale behind the decision to try and interdict Madonsela from releasing her provisional report.

Radebe said the merits of the case, brought in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Friday, were not up for discussion.

The urgent application was postponed. It would be heard next Friday.

Government's only reason for bringing the case was to give the JCPS cluster more time to comment on the report.

Madonsela had submitted her report to ministers in the cluster, asking for comment on whether it would impact on national security and Zuma's security.

Government's court action had essentially prevented Madonsela from publicly releasing the report this weekend, telling the court it needed until next Friday to submit comments.

Radebe denied they were trying to supercede the mandate of the Public Protector.

Asked whether ministers would attempt to whitewash the report, Radebe said the executive did not have the power to do this.

"It's not our duty to sanitise any report. It should be the [decision] of the public protector."

In court papers, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said the release of the report would be a criminal offence.

Radebe said, despite criticism from some quarters, that this was not meant as a threat.

"That impression is misplaced," he said.

Cwele concurred, adding: "There's absolutely no intention for us to intimidate".

The cluster was currently working on its response to the report.

"When we give our comments to the public protector, where there [are] such instances, we will be proposing certain remedial measures," Radebe said.

He did not elaborate on the measures.

Radebe insisted Madonsela was unreasonable in setting a 6 November deadline for the ministers to comment, as the 357 page report was only submitted to them on 1 November, leaving ministers only four working days to provide input.

He said she also denied requests to extend this deadline.

"In providing us the opportunity to comment on the provisional report before it is released to other affected, implicated and interested parties, the public protector recognises the legal obligation to ensure that the provisional report does not compromise national security and the security of the president...," Radebe said.

"The public protector has, in our view, unreasonably denied us the opportunity to properly engage the report...," Radebe said.

Read more on:    jeff radebe  |  thuli madonsela  |  nkandla upgrade

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