Public Protector blocked from addressing Nkandla report criticisms

BY CHARL BOSCH - JULY 31, 2015

The African National Congress (ANC) has accused Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, of lying about the true costs of upgrades at President Jacob Zuma’s private Nkandla residence.

Speaking during Parliament’s ad-hoc committee on Nkandla yesterday, party MP, Mathole Motshekga, said Madonsela’s Secure in Comfort report, which found that Zuma has unduly benefitted from the R246-million upgrades, could not be recommended as the controversy surrounding the so-called fire pool, cattle kraal, chicken coop and amphitheatre was not how she portrayed it to the nation.

“The report of the Public Protector is misleading and misled the nation. It was clear: we were not at or in an amphitheatre,” he said.

“Whatever she said about an amphitheatre falls away, and we went to the pool … and there is nobody who could say the use of the water is irrational or illogical”.

A proposal by opposition parties to have Madonsela answer questions about her report, was then blocked with the ruling party indicating that they would only consider the findings by Police Minister, Nathi Nhleko. Proceedings were then adjourned till next Tuesday.

In a statement, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane said the ruling’s party refusal in allowing Madonsela to comment on the allegations, was proof that it supported the “the looting of R246-million of taxpayers’ money”.

“It is clear that the ANC majority is only interested in hearing from the Ministers of Police and Public Works, who owe their employment to Accused Number 1 – President Jacob Zuma,” Maimane said.

“The ANC’s majority in the Committee has been used and abused to ensure that all objective and independent voices are silenced. At the very least, the Public Protector should be given an opportunity to defend herself and the Secure in Comfort report unlike the irrational and poorly composed report of the Police Minister”.

He also stated that ruling party was undermining the workings of Madonsela’s office by not allowing her to speak, and that Nhleko’s report could never be viewed as a substitute to hers.

“This matter will not go away until justice is served, which will be when the President does as mandated by the Public Protector. And that is to pay a reasonable percentage of the R246 million spent on his private Nkandla residence”, he said.