Fears govern­ment stonewalling may bury Nkandla re­port

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - CRAIG DODDS

THERE are fears the govern­ment has adopted the same stonewalling tech­nique used by Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s le­gal team in preventing the re­lease of the so- called Spy Tapes to bury Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela’s re­port on Nkandla.

The post­pone­ment granted yes­ter­day of an ap­pli­ca­tion for an in­ter­dict de­lay­ing the re­lease of the re­port buys the se­cu­rity or­gans only a week, but could be the start of ef­forts to make whole­sale changes af­ter Po­lice Min­is­ter Nathi Mthethwa said the re­port con­tained “a plethora” of se­cu­rity breaches.

Pres­sure on Madon­sela has been build­ing, with the ANC ques­tion­ing her ob­jec­tiv­ity and, in an un­re­lated state­ment in Par­lia­ment on Thurs­day, slam­ming an­other re­port of hers as “em­bar­rass­ing”.

Madon­sela was seem­ingly un­fazed by an at­tack by ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe on Mon­day in which he said com­ments she had made ear­lier threw her neu­tral­ity into doubt and sug­gested she was “pro­tect­ing in­ter­ests of a par­tic­u­lar sec­tion of society”.

Man­tashe said this, and her hand­ing of the re­port to or­gans of the se­cu­rity clus­ter but not Zuma, “sug­gest that the pres­i­dent is guilty even be­fore the re­port is re­leased of­fi­cially”.

She had “po­si­tioned the re­port in a man­ner that will work on the pub­lic psy­che in a par­tic­u­lar man­ner”.

Madon­sela re­sponded by as­sur­ing cit­i­zens of her of­fice’s “con­tin­ued in­de­pen­dence and im­par­tial­ity”. “We con­duct all of our in­ves­ti­ga­tions and… pre­pare re­ports with­out fear, favour or prej­u­dice,” she said.

On Thurs­day, po­lit­i­cal par­ties across the spec­trum re­jected Madon­sela’s sug­ges­tion that IEC chair­woman Pansy Tlakula’s role in the pro­cure­ment of a new head­quar­ters for the com­mis­sion, and her com­ments on Madon­sela’s find­ings against her, be re­ferred to the Elec­toral Court.

Adopt­ing the re­port of a com­mit­tee es­tab­lished to con­sider Madon­sela’s re­quest, MPs said it would be un­con­sti­tu­tional and un­law­ful to com­ply.

ANC MP Johnny de Lange said the qual­ity of Madon­sela’s re­port was “em­bar­rass­ing”.

Mean­while, in a se­ries of writ­ten replies to par­lia­men­tary ques­tions this week, min­is­ters in the se­cu­rity clus­ter de­nied they had ever tried to per­suade Madon­sela to drop the Nkandla in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

This fol­lows a re­port in Septem­ber that the min­is­ters had leaned on Madon­sela to drop the probe.

An in­ter­nal re­port on Nkandla com­mis­sioned by Pub­lic Works Min­is­ter Thu­las Nx­esi has yet to be made pub­lic, af­ter he said the con­tents were clas­si­fied as they con- tained de­tails of se­cu­rity ar­range­ments at the pres­i­dent’s home.

At a brief­ing where she an­nounced the DA had ap­proached the West­ern Cape High Court for an or­der com­pelling Nx­esi to hand over the Pub­lic Works re­port, DA par­lia­men­tary leader Lindiwe Maz­ibuko said yes­ter­day the se­cu­rity clus­ter’s in­ter­dict ap­pli­ca­tion was a “de­lay­ing tac­tic and like the nu­mer­ous de­lays en­coun­tered in the Spy Tapes case, it will be at the ex­pense of the tax­payer”.

craig.dodds@inl.co.za

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