South Africa 20.3.2014 06:00 am

Politicians interfered, says Public Protector

FILE PICTURE: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

FILE PICTURE: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela yesterday said there was a political interference in the security upgrade of President Jacob Zuma’s private residence in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.

Madonsela made the announcement in Pretoria while releasing the report on an investigation into the upgrade.

She said former minister of public works Geoff Doidge and his deputy, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, were at some stage involved in the implementation of the Nkandla project.

“Their involvement, albeit for a short period of time, appears to have created an atmosphere that was perceived as political interference or pressure,” Madonsela said. She pointed out, however, that evidence did not show any such intent on their part.

“The task team report also indicated that officials were uneasy with the operational involvement of politicians in the Nkandla project.

“Their involvement at trench level, including deputy minister Bogopane-Zulu making suggestions on how to meet their
perceived security need, was ill-advised.”

Madonsela said Zuma’s conduct in relation to the implementation of the upgrades at his private residence may have been unethical and in violation of the Executive Ethics Code.

The findings indicated that the president benefited unduly from an upgrade.

The investigation into the upgrade was carried out in response to seven complaints lodged between December 13, 2011 and November 2012.

According to Madonsela, the first complaint came from an unnamed member of the public, and was lodged in terms of the Public Protector Act.

“The investigation took approximately two years and exceeded the one-year target the Public Protector team has set for complex investigations,” Madonsela said.

She said the delay could be attributed to various factors, including internal capacity constraints, access to classified information as well as general delays in accessing information held by some departments in the Nkandla project.

 

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