Madon­sela is caught in po­lit­i­cal cross­fire

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

of send­ing pro­vi­sional re­ports to the af­fected par­ties and com­plainants.

Madon­sela stressed that the pro­vi­sional re­port was con­fi­den­tial.

The fi­nal re­port would be made pub­lic once com­ments had been re­ceived from all par­ties, and con­sid­ered.

Madon­sela was caught in the cross­fire this week as a row blazed over what should be­come of her Nkandla re­port.

The ANC turned up the heat on her as she pre­pared to hand a pro­vi­sional re­port on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion to rel­e­vant par­ties, in­clud­ing the Pres­i­dency and the com­plainant, DA par­lia­men­tary leader Lindiwe Maz­ibuko.

ANC chief whip Stone Sizani slammed Madon­sela for “subtly” seek­ing to “try the pres­i­dent and his ex­ec­u­tive in a court of pub­lic opin­ion”.

He claimed she hadn’t ap­proached Par­lia­ment, or asked for a leg­isla­tive in­ter­ven­tion.

But Madon­sela said that her re­port of 2010/11, which dealt with Zuma’s fail­ure to de­clare his in­ter­ests on time, had done just that – and the pro­posed changes to the leg­is­la­tion had yet to be fi­nalised.

At a round-ta­ble meet­ing be­tween in­sti­tu­tions sup­port­ing democ­racy, and the Speaker and se­nior of­fi­cials of Par­lia- ment on Wed­nes­day, Madon­sela said her of­fice’s re­la­tion­ship with Par­lia­ment had been “an area of con­fu­sion”.

Re­fer­ring to a pro­posed “com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­to­col” to guide the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the in­sti­tu­tions and Par­lia­ment, Madon­sela said “an in­stru­ment that sets ev­ery­thing clear” would leave “less op­por­tu­nity for drama”.

On Thurs­day, a com­mit­tee es­tab­lished to con­sider Madon- sela’s re­port on the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion’s ( IEC) ac­qui­si­tion of a new head­quar­ters re­jected her re­quest for the mat­ter, in­clud­ing IEC chair­woman Pansy Tlakula’s pub­lic com­ments on her re­port, to be re­ferred to the Elec­toral Court on the grounds it would be “un­law­ful and/or un­con­sti­tu­tional” to do so.

MPs on the com­mit­tee agreed there was a gap in the leg­is­la­tion that left open the ques­tion of what should hap­pen when one Chap­ter 9 in­sti­tu­tion, like the pub­lic pro­tec­tor, in­ves­ti­gated another, like the IEC.

DA MP James Selfe, who co­drafted the com­mit­tee’s re­port on the mat­ter, said yes­ter­day he sym­pa­thised with Madon­sela’s dif­fi­culty re­gard­ing her re­fer­ral of re­ports to Par­lia­ment.

Un­like with the au­di­tor-gen­eral, where there was an es­tab­lished process for re­ports, the pro­ce­dure for re­ports of other Chap­ter 9 in­sti­tu­tions was “a bit vague”.

Selfe said yes­ter­day Par­lia­ment had “a lot of work to do”. “It’s good that this is­sue came to Par­lia­ment, it’s good that it high­lighted the un­sat­is­fac­tory na­ture of the le­gal frame­work within which we have to op­er­ate. I hope that what’s go­ing to hap­pen is it’s go­ing to con­cen­trate Par­lia­ment’s mind about sys­tem­a­tis­ing the way that we deal with th­ese re­ports,” he said.

The DA had been call­ing for a port­fo­lio com­mit­tee to be es­tab­lished to do this.

craig.dodds@inl.co.za

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