Judgment reserved on media's bid to access Nkandla hearings

2016-05-27 13:42
Nkandla. (File, City Press)

Nkandla. (File, City Press)

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Pietermaritzburg - Judgment was reserved in a high court bid by the media to access the disciplinary hearings of Department of Public Works officials fingered by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) over their role in the building of President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead.

Media24, along with Times Media Group and M&G Media, brought an application to allow reporters to be present at the disciplinary hearings of the officials, widely painted as scapegoats for the Nkandla saga.

An SUI report fingers the officials for breaching procurement procedures, but admits none of the employees benefitted financially for their alleged misconduct.

This year the Constitutional Court found that recommendations made by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela were binding, and that Zuma should pay back a portion of the spend on non-security upgrades.

The amount has yet to be determined.

The disciplinary hearings have been suspended pending the outcome of this application.

Advocate Andrea Gabriel SC, representing the media houses, argued that there was a discernible public interest in the hearings considering the upgrades had been sponsored by the public purse.

Advocate JP Broster, for the officials, said that disciplinary hearings fell within the ambit of a private employer employee relationship.

The Department of Public works submitted a notice to abide by whatever decision the court hands down, and did not oppose the media houses' bid for access. 

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  nkandla upgrade  |  media

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