Ngwako Modjadji and Sapa
2 minute read
30 Nov 2013
7:00 am

Stop Nkandla leaks, pleads Madonsela

Ngwako Modjadji and Sapa

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela yesterday appealed to the media not to publish leaked provisional reports from her office, saying if the leaks continue people will lose confidence in her office.

FILE PICTURE: Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Christine Vermooten

Madonsela’s spokesman Kgalalelo Masibi said there is no final provisional report from the Public Protector yet.

“The Public Protector had always asked editors not to publish information that purports to be from provisional reports as she believes the practice is wrong,” she said. “The phenomenon of publishing information purporting to be based on the Public Protector provisional reports had stopped until this week.”

This follows the leaking of Madonsela’s provisional report on President Jacob Zuma’s private homestead of Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal. According reports in the Mail & Guardian yesterday, the report had found Zuma has derived “substantial” personal benefit from works that exceed security needs, and he must repay the state. In its editorial, the newspaper said it fully expect a howl of protest over its disclosures.

Other notable media leaks involving Madonsela’s office include the provisional report on the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairman Pansy Tlakula’s role in renting new headquarters for the IEC in Centurion, and Madonsela’s second report titled Against the Rules Too on police lease deals, which dealt with a R500-million deal for new police headquarters in Pretoria, among others.

A petition calling for the impeachment of Zuma began circulating on the social networking site Twitter yesterday. By early afternoon the petition had reached 250 signatures, with activist Zackie Achmat one of the people who signed it.

The petition, by a group calling itself the committee for the impeachment of the president, wants Zuma and everyone involved in the multi-million rand upgrade to Nkandla to be prosecuted. If this did not happen, it called on people to demonstrate outside Parliament on February 13 next year.

Impeachment is the process by which an official is accused of improper conduct and can result in his/her removal from office and criminal charges.

Following the leak, the ministers of the security cluster and the minister of Public Works met with the Public Protector, the cluster said in a statement yesterday afternoon.

According to the statement Madonsela “committed herself to following the proper process of handling such reports”.

Earlier yesterday, the office of the Public Protector condemned the leak of the provisional report, saying it was “unethical” and “unlawful”.

“As a rule, we do not comment on whatever purports to be a provisional report of the Public Protector as those are not reports of the Public Protector. Publishing such reports is unethical and unlawful,” she said.

“It violates section 7(2) of the Public Protector Act.”

The Mail & Guardian said a swimming pool, visitors’ centre, amphitheatre, cattle kraal, marquee area, extensive paving and new houses for relocated relatives, were all improperly included in the security upgrade at “enormous cost” to the taxpayer.

But responding to questions from the Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko in the National Assembly last year, Zuma told Parliament that “all the building and every room we use in that residence was built by ourselves as a family and not government”.

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj refused to comment.