Public Protector rejects minister’s call to revisit controversial report

 Public Protector Thuli Madonsela will not revise her controversial report on an “improper” R500 million police lease agreement despite reports that Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde had asked her to revisit the findings.

“The minister of public works had at least four opportunities to raise concerns with the draft report before its finalisation,” said Madonsela’s spokeswoman, Kgalalelo Masibi.

“The most important was the opportunity given to respond to the draft report, which was not substantially different to the final report,” she said.

“The minister was also given an opportunity to respond to comments from the Treasury, which fully endorsed the Public Protector’s draft report.

“The minister’s comments on the draft report did not suggest or request any redrafting and therefore did not warrant any changes to the report.

“The minister did not take the opportunity to respond to the Treasury document,” Masibi said.

She was commenting on an article in The Star yesterday, which quoted from a document leaked to the newspaper.

The Star reported that Mahlangu-Nkabinde, in the document, called the Public Protector’s report “shallow and superficial”, and said it was filled with “inaccuracies, inconsistencies and irregularities”.

The minister also asked Madonsela to revisit her findings.

Masibi said: “The Public Protector does not consider it proper to engage in a street dialogue about her findings.

“She has indicated to organs of state that they are free to engage with her on a one to one basis.

“That having been said, the Public Protector considers her report to be final and any engagement should be about implementation. As far as the Public Protector is concerned, the report speaks for itself.”

The report was made public last month.

It found national police commissioner Bheki Cele guilty of improper conduct and maladministration for authorising a R500 million lease agreement for a building in Pretoria to serve as the police’s headquarters.

Madonsela also found that the public works department should never have signed the lease agreement.

Sapa contacted Mahlangu-Nkabinde’s office yesterday morning for comment on The Star report, but by this morning there had been no response.

Cele has continued to deny any wrongdoing.

Last week, police visited the Public Protector’s office – in what spokesman McIntosh Polela called an “unauthorised” operation – and demanded that certain documents pertaining to the report to be handed over to them.


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