Thuli ain't budging!


She said it would be unlawful, unconstitutional and a violation of her office’s independence if she agreed to their request for more time than the five days she allocated them to respond to her report into the R206 million upgrade at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla private home in KwaZulu-Natal.

On Monday, Madonsela broke her silence for the first time since her fallout with the security ministers escalated into a legal battle, with threats of criminal charges on Friday.

“On the reluctance to grant the state a longer extension, the public protector was of the view that acceding to the request would be an injustice on the affected and implicated parties,” Madonsela said on Monday.

Director for the Centre for African Renaissance Studies at Unisa Professor Shadrack Gutto said it was the security ministers, not Madonsela, who were being unreasonable.

He said it wouldn’t take a week for them to read the 357-page report as they have directors-general and advisers.

“I think it is the ministers who are being unreasonable in delaying a report that is creating a lot of public anxiety,” he said.

“I don’t want to speculate, but the public has expressed concern about the millions being spent.

“The question could be that the ministers could (end up being) on trial to explain such expenditure at the president’s private home. From that point of view, it could be an attempt by them to see if they can use or bend the law.”

This comes after Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, who also chairs the security cluster, accused Madonsela of being unreasonable by refusing to grant them more time to consider the report.

In addition to Radebe, the cluster comprises Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele.

Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi also received a copy because his department implemented the security upgrades.

Citing her letter to Nxesi on November 5, Madonsela again said that agreeing to the request would be an injustice to the affected and implicated parties, including Zuma.

“Leaving the report in the hands of the security cluster for an unduly extended period would prejudice in particular those that she has made provisional adverse findings against,” she said.

“It would also not be in the public interest if the security cluster has exclusive possession of the report. These concerns were expressed to the minister, who offered no solutions to them.”

Madonsela also said that while she had been reconsidering her position, the security cluster’s actions had forced her not to do so.

“However, the security cluster gave the public protector no opportunity to do so because the letter requesting more time arrived on the afternoon… indicating that if she did not respond in an hour, it would be assumed that she was declining,” she said.

Madonsela added that she had prepared a response when she received the court papers shortly before 9am on Friday.

“The public protector will clarify in detail in court papers why she believes the security cluster’s request is unlawful, unconstitutional and violates the independence of her office,” Madonsela said.

She implied the security ministers had lied when they said she was the one who suggested they first comment on the report for security reasons.

“The public protector would further like to put it on record, again, that it was not her who voluntarily decided to share the report in question with the concerned organs of state ahead of other parties as has been suggested.

“It was, in fact, these organs of state that made a special request to the public protector, advancing the reasons that they wanted to ensure that the content does not compromise the security of the president.”

Gutto added that only a law could prohibit the release of the report. “Ministers don’t read this information (in the report) in detail.

“They have state law advisers within the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Development. To say that all of these can’t be studied and done within a week or three or four days is really surprising.”

Meanwhile, questions on the public’s minds is who will protect the Protector in such instances?



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