South Africa 29.10.2014 06:47 pm

Zuma has not responded to Protector’s letter

FILE PICTURE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS

FILE PICTURE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has not had a response from President Jacob Zuma to a letter her office sent him more than a month ago, her office said on Wednesday

“The letter was sent on 15 September 2014 and a response has not been received,” acting spokesman Oupa Segalwe said.

He said Madonsela had decided to leave the matter to Parliament.

In September Madonsela said the outcome of recommendations she made in her report on the upgrades to Zuma’s Nkandla home were no longer in her hands.

“I will leave the process in the hands of Parliament, South Africa and the judiciary,” she said at the time.

Segalwe said the clarification given by Western Cape High Court Judge Ashton Schippers was in line with the view Madonsela had always held –that she did not make “mere recommendations” that could be ignored by organs of state.

“We have always said that organs of state cannot just ignore the public protector’s findings and remedial action, and that a refusal to implement would only be allowed if the public protector’s findings or remedial action were to be found to be irrational, and that no reasonable public protector faced with the same facts could have arrived at the same conclusions,” he said.

Ruling that on Friday that SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng be suspended, Schippers said: “Unlike an order or decision of a court, a finding by the public protector is not binding on persons and organs of state.

“However, the fact that the findings of and remedial action taken by the public protector are not binding decisions, does not mean that these findings and remedial action are mere recommendations, which an organ of state may accept or reject.”

Segalwe said they disagreed with some aspects of the judgment. The public protector’s office felt the judgment had serious implications for the independence to make decisions of institutions such as the public protector and the IEC, and for access to justice for ordinary people.

“For example, it appears the judgment places the authority to make a call on the rationality of the public protector in making findings in the hands of the organs of state whose conduct would have been the subject of the investigation,” he said.

Sapa

 

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