THULI’S TOUGH LET­TER TO ZUMA

CityPress - - Front Page - CAIPHUS KGOSANA caiphus.kgosana@city­press.co.za

Public Pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela has taken the fight over Nkandla back to Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma. She has warned him that his sug­ges­tion that the po­lice min­is­ter de­ter­mine whether he ought to re­pay money spent on up­grades was il­le­gal. In the let­ter, which is in the pos­ses­sion of City Press, Madon­sela tells Zuma in no un­cer­tain terms that the re­sponse he sub­mit­ted to Par­lia­ment two weeks ago did not ad­dress her find­ings con­tained in her re­port Se­cure in Com­fort.

She also warned that his fail­ure to prop­erly ad­dress her find­ings could set a bad prece­dent and “lead to im­punity at var­i­ous lev­els of state”.

In her re­port, Madon­sela or­dered that Zuma pay for all non-se­cu­rity re­lated ex­penses at Nkandla. Th­ese in­clude the swim­ming pool, am­phithe­atre, cat­tle kraal and the visi­tors’ cen­tre.

She said the SA Po­lice Ser­vice and Trea­sury should help him de­ter­mine how much he owed.

Zuma’s re­sponse left it to new Po­lice Min­is­ter Nathi Nh­leko to de­ter­mine if he was li­able and should re­pay any of the R246 mil­lion spent up­grad­ing his Nkandla es­tate.

Madon­sela said she was con­cerned that the head of ad­min­is­tra­tion in the pres­i­dency had not re­sponded to her re­port with indi­ca­tions of the re­me­dial ac­tion that would be taken.

She warned Zuma that his sug­ges­tion that Nh­leko de­ter­mine if he owed any money re­lated to Nkandla would be il­le­gal – the po­lice min­is­ter does not have the power to re­view any of her de­ci­sions, or to sec­ond-guess her.

“I am con­cerned that the de­ci­sion you have made re­gard­ing the po­lice min­is­ter gives him power he does not have un­der law, which is to re­view my de­ci­sion taken in pur­suit of the pow­ers of ad­min­is­tra­tive scru­tiny I am given by ... the Con­sti­tu­tion,” she said.

Madon­sela said ask­ing the po­lice min­is­ter to re­port to Cabi­net whether Zuma should pay un­der­mined the rule of law and gave Cabi­net pow­ers it did not have. Only the courts had such power.

“As I have al­ready in­di­cated, re­ports of the Public Pro­tec­tor are by law not sub­ject to any re­view or sec­ond-guess­ing by a min­is­ter and/or the Cabi­net.

“The find­ings made and re­me­dial ac­tion taken by the Public Pro­tec­tor can be ju­di­cially re­viewed and set aside only by a court of law,” she wrote.

Giv­ing the po­lice min­is­ter power he does not have would also en­cour­age im­punity at var­i­ous lev­els of state, she wrote.

She said it would not au­gur well, in terms of the rule of law, if Zuma, at the pin­na­cle of gov­ern­ment, did not up­hold it.

Madon­sela said by tak­ing this ac­tion, Zuma was in­di­cat­ing he was not happy with her find­ing that he pay back some of the money spent on non­se­cu­rity fea­tures at Nkandla, his pri­vate house.

She re­minded him that he was required by law to re­spond ex­haus­tively to her find­ings about what re­me­dial ac­tion he planned to take to ad­dress points she raised in the re­port.

Zuma’s 20-page re­sponse to Par­lia­ment did not ad­dress any of those find­ings.

“I could find no in­di­ca­tion in your re­port that you were re­spond­ing to the con­tents of my re­port, com­ment­ing on it and were re­port­ing to the Na­tional Assem­bly on the ac­tions that you have taken or are tak­ing to im­ple­ment re­me­dial ac­tion.

“I have also no­ticed your re­port ex­cludes some of my find­ings and re­me­dial ac­tion,” she wrote.

Zuma’s of­fice in­sisted last week that the pres­i­dent had re­sponded to all re­ports be­fore him, in­clud­ing the Public Pro­tec­tor’s re­port.

Madon­sela re­fused to dis­cuss the let­ter when con­tacted yes­ter­day, say­ing it was con­fi­den­tial.

Pres­i­den­tial spokesper­son Mac Ma­haraj said: “We have re­ceived the let­ter from Ms Madon­sela and it is be­ing at­tended to.”

Madon­sela gave Zuma un­til Septem­ber 4 to re­spond to her let­ter.

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