Nhleko ‘pretty fine’ with his Nkandla report, sticks by it

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Police minister Nathi Nhleko is sticking to his guns on the “factuality” of his report that cleared the president of accountability for Nkandla. Picture: Janet Heard
Police minister Nathi Nhleko is sticking to his guns on the “factuality” of his report that cleared the president of accountability for Nkandla. Picture: Janet Heard

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s report on Nkandla has been ridiculed and dismissed as irrelevant, but he insists that his findings were factual. 

Shrugging off allegations that he had been thrown under the bus in the wake of the damning Constitutional Court ruling on Nkandla, he said: “Those are opinions. I am pretty fine with the work that I did.” 

During an interview at his offices in Parliament yesterday, Nhleko said the Constitutional Court ruling had focused on “procedural” concerns and had not dealt with the actual content of his report. 

“I don’t want to deal with the legal issues, but if you ask me about the factuality of the report – I am telling you now that those were the facts that were established. As we speak, that report has never been interrogated by anybody besides the ad hoc committee in Parliament. The report is there. It is backed up.” 

Contradicting the Public Protector’s finding that four features – the swimming pool, kraal, visitors centre and amphitheatre – were non-security related, Nhleko’s report last May found that they were in fact security structures. He found that Zuma was therefore not liable to pay for any of the R246 million upgrades to his home. 

Nhleko’s report was subsequently processed in Parliament, leading to a resolution being passed in the National Assembly which absolved the president from complying with the remedial action by the Public Protector. 

In its damning finding on the Nkandla issue last month, the Constitutional Court ruled that this resolution was invalid and needed to be set aside. 

Nhleko conceded that his findings on the four controversial features were contrary to the findings of the Public Protector, but insisted that he had not been second guessing her.

“I acted on the basis of a resolution of Parliament. Even the Chief Justice alluded to the fact that there is nothing wrong with Parliament embarking on a process of scrutiny,” he said. 

“I opted for a qualitative research approach,” he said, adding that it was important to get to grip with complex security issues and methodology and determining how earlier findings had been made. It had taken him over three months to complete his report. 

When asked whether he still stuck by his report despite developments, he said: “The report is there, it has not been disproved.” 

He said the ruling of the Constitutional Court, which he accepted, should not be confused with the “factuality” of his report.

“I had to do the work and it was done. It was established that they were indeed security measures.” 

During argument in the Constitutional Court, Zuma’s lawyers conceded that Nhleko’s report was irrelevant.

The court confirmed that the powers of the Public Protector are binding, two years after Thuli Madonsela had released her report, Secure in Comfort. Treasury is now in the process of determining the amount that Zuma must pay.

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