Fears government stonewalling may bury Nkandla report
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”.