Zuma asked to respect Nkandla findings

2014-03-18 22:32
Thuli Madonsela (Picture: Volksblad)

Thuli Madonsela (Picture: Volksblad)

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Nkandla timeline

2014-03-19 08:30

Thuli Madonsela's final report into Nkandla will be released today. See a timeline of the most significant dates of the Nkandla saga. VIEW

Cape Town – As Public Protector Thuli Madonsela prepares to release her long-awaited report on Nkandla, the DA urged President Jacob Zuma to abide by the findings, whatever they are.

Madonsela’s office is set to release its findings on Zuma’s R206m upgrade on his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday, a year-and-a-half after the investigation began. 

The DA has lashed out at the ANC on the eve of the release of the final report, claiming that the ruling party has been on a deliberate attempt to discredit Madonsela.

The report's release date was expected to be around 9 February, a few days before Zuma's State of the Nation address, but Madonsela extended the deadline for responses at the request of one of the parties.

DA Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko on Tuesday said: “Just [this] past week, we have witnessed the ANC’s transparent campaign to discredit the public protector before the release of her final report in an effort to shield President Zuma from accountability.”

Mazibuko listed the ANC’s attempts as the court papers served on Madonsela by the minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pattersson, challenging her report on the tender to manage the state’s fishery vessels; ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe calling the Nkandla report a “political report”; and reports that the ANC were downplaying Madonsela’s finding, allegedly telling members to ignore it.

"The minister of public service and administration, Lindiwe Sisulu, jumped on the bandwagon, questioning whether the public protector has 'given herself enough time' to complete an investigation of this magnitude," Mazibuko said.

She urged Zuma to uphold the constitution and distance himself from these attacks.

"And commit today that he will respect the findings - no matter what they are."

The ANC has criticised Madonsela for her handling of the probe.

With only a few months to go until the general election, Mantashe said the release of the report close to 7 May would indicate an intention to "muddy the waters in the election campaign".

Madonsela has previously dismissed claims that her office would time the release of her final report with the aim of influencing the elections.

Urgent court bid

But the road to the release of the Nkandla report wasn’t a smooth one.

In November last year, security cluster ministers brought, but later withdrew, an urgent court bid for more time to study Madonsela's provisional report.

Mandonsela at the time said the action was “unprecedented".

The provisional report was given to the cluster in November 2013.

This followed a special request that it have access to the report ahead of all other parties, to establish if its contents would compromise Zuma's security.

Later government spokesperson Phumla Williams said the security cluster had established in its own investigation that no state funds had been spent on improving Zuma’s private houses at Nkandla.

She said that while government still believed the security upgrades were justified, the manner in which the department of public works handled the matter was inappropriate.

Government’s own investigation found there had been irregularities in the appointment of service providers and the procurement of goods and services.

Madonsela found a swimming pool, visitors' centre, amphitheatre, cattle kraal, marquee area, extensive paving, and new houses for relatives included in the upgrade at "enormous cost" to the taxpayer, the Mail & Guardian reported.

Madonsela's report recommended the president be called to account by Parliament for violating the executive ethics code on two counts.

These were for failing to protect state resources, and misleading Parliament for suggesting he and his family had paid for all non-security-related features.

One of the key allegations listed in the report stated that costs escalated from an initial R27m to R215m, with a further R31m in works outstanding.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  lindiwe mazibuko  |  jacob zuma  |  thuli madonsela  |  cape town  |  politics  |  nkandla upgrade

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