Who leaked the Nkandla report?

2013-11-30 13:25

The question about the identity of the person who leaked the Public Protector’s report on Nkandla expenditure may not be important but the contents of the report are what we should all be focusing on. In recent times there has been a growing trend on leakages of these provisional reports written by Adv Thuli Mandonsela.  The public protector’s office has slammed the leak as well as the Mail & Guardian for publishing details of the R215 million upgrades to the president's private home in KwaZulu-Natal. It is interesting to note that the Public Protector’s office doesn’t refute the claims made by Mail & Guardian but rather emphasising the fact that it was "unlawful" for them to publish the provisional report. The public protector’s spokesperson, Kgalalelo Masibi, was quoted by Jacaranda News as saying that the covering pages of Madonsela’s provisional report “clearly advise any bearer that publication and dissemination [of the report] is a violation of section 9.2”. We can all assume the contents of the Mail & Guardian  expose to be true and factually correctly based on the Public Protector’s provisional report.

Notable media leaks involving Madonsela’s office include the provisional report on the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairman Pansy Tlakula’s role in renting new headquarters for the IEC in Centurion, and Madonsela’s second report titled Against the Rules Too on police lease deals, which dealt with a R500-million deal for new police headquarters in Pretoria. The most recent leak is one published by the City Press which lamented the abuse of power and maladministration by senior executives and former board members of the SABC. The provisional report slams “unlawful” behaviour by the SABC’s acting chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, and “improper conduct” by group chief executive officer Lulama Mokhobo. The report, provisionally titled The Blame Game, states that the former chairperson of the SABC board Ben Ngubane should face disciplinary action for “abuse of power and improper conduct” for, hiking Motsoeneng’s salary from R1.4?million to R2.7?million in just a year despite his lack of qualification and the fact that he doesn’t have a matric.

Former Government spokesperson Jimmy Manyi phoned Xolani Gwala’s Afternoon Drive Show on Talk Radio 702 on Friday questioning the public protector’s objectivity and fairness due to the fact that provisional reports are leaked from her office ever so often.

The public protector met with “Security Cluster” ministers after the leaking of the Nkandla report on Friday. Thereafter a statement was published by the Phumla Williams government spokesperson and said, “The security cluster wishes to reiterate the integrity of government’s own investigation into the Nkandla security upgrades. The investigation established, among other things, that no state funds had been spent on improving President Jacob Zuma’s private houses at Nkandla.”  Soon after that, ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu also released a statement telling us to “exercise restraint and caution.” He further added that, “As the ANC, we continue to have confidence in our President and we believe and know that he is not responsible for any wrong doing with regard to the Inkandla security upgrade.”

This sounds like a well carefully orchestrated soap opera. I could have sworn that I was watching an episode of “Days of Our Lives” as it was too rehearsed. On top of that Zuma’s spin doctor, Mac Maharaj refused to comment on the leaked provisional report.

I personally feel that the Nkandla leak to the media came from government/ANC. We all know that Adv Thuli Madonsela handed the provisional report to “Security Cluster” ministers for them to comment on her findings and recommendations. These ministers then circulated the report to senior government officials. [Please note that the provisional report handed to them was an electronic copy and could only be accessed using a secure site with a password.] This means that these ministers gave other officials the secure password which was given to them by the public protector’s office.  It is clear that the leak comes from within government. The big question is: What was the motive for the leak?

These leaks happen to frustrate the public protector’s work and also question the integrity of the findings which are tabled in these reports. There appears to be concerted efforts to discredit the independence, fairness and objectivity of Adv Thuli Mandonsela.  They want us to focus on the “sideshows” of the report instead of focusing on the contents thereof.

According to the Mail & Guardian, the report found Zuma personally benefited from the upgrades. It says he should account to Parliament and repay the state for some of the lavish features which include a swimming pool, visitors’ centre, amphitheatre, cattle kraal, marquee area, extensive paving and new houses for relocated relatives which were all improperly included in the security upgrade at “enormous cost” to the taxpayer. Furthermore, it says that Zuma misled parliament. Government maintains the security upgrades are justified while the ruling party says it’s waiting for the final report before commenting on its details. But Madonsela’s provisional report, titled ‘Opulence on a Grand Scale’, says the upgrades at Nkandla went far beyond Zuma’s security needs. It says the president violated the executive ethics code. President Zuma should be disciplined by parliament in the same manner that former Communication Minister Dina Pule was called to account for lying to parliament and “severely” punished for her atrocities.

Sadly, we all know action will not be taken against President Jacob Zuma by the ANC. Thus far, government and the ANC have been shielding and protecting Zuma in this Nkandla saga. If you expect the ANC President to be recalled like Thabo Mbeki, you are dreaming as this will not happen. Instead there will be a debate about the leaking of the report, integrity of the public protector and not necessarily on whether Zuma should still remain ANC President and be the face of their election campaign come elections 2014. Calls for the president to be impeached will fall on deaf ears and it will be business as usual with Zuma looting that state coffers as he pleases.  The constitution allows for the removal of the president by Parliament, with the support of a two-thirds majority, but loyal ANC members in Parliament will not have Zuma removed since they hold the majority.

By the way, I am looking forward to that episode on Top Billing where we get to see the Zuma family, MaKhumalo, MaNtuli, Khulubuse etc swimming in that R550 000 pool and the stunning interior decor. That would be a riveting show to see where all your tax money is going towards.

VIDEO: President Zuma tells Parliament that Nkandla was paid for by the Zuma family. 

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