Julius Malema's EFF has come out in defence of the public protector and called for President Jacob Zuma to resign over the Nkandlagate scandal.
Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has come out in defence of public protector Thuli Madonsela and called for President Jacob Zuma to do the honourable thing and resign over the Nkandlagate scandal.
The EFF was responding to accusations levelled by the ANC Youth League and the South African Communist Party (SACP) against public protector Thuli Madonsela that she was the one who leaked her provisional report to the media.
Madonsela's damning provisional report found, among other things, that Zuma derived substantial personal benefit from the R206-million Nkandla upgrades, which included a swimming pool, visitors' centre, an amphitheatre, cattle kraal, extensive paving and new houses for relocated relatives.
Madonsela found that all these exceeded Zuma's security needs and were improperly included in the security upgrades at enormous cost to the taxpayer.
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said: "EFF is adamant that Zuma must do the honourable thing [given] the seriousness of the allegations ... and resign from the position of president of the republic. In addition, he must be charged for the crime of corruption and be prosecuted in a court of law."
He condemned the "Zuma apologists" – the ANC Youth League and the SACP – for the insinuation that the Nkandla report was leaked by the public protector.
"In as much as the leaking of reports should be avoided, it is simplistic and irresponsible to immediately insinuate that the public protector is the first suspect. If the office of the public protector gives courtesy and prerogative to affected parties to peruse her findings and recommendations on contents, she will be publishing anyway, it is unlikely that it benefits her to leak the report.
"The most likely parties to leak the report in the case of Nkandla is the security cluster as it benefits them in order to discredit the work of the public protector since it does not favour the president they so much fought to protect," said Ndlozi.
He said the security cluster would not be able to stop it from being published, so would "politicise a simple case of corruption and nepotism; crimes Zuma is committing against the people".
Ndlozi said those who called for the investigation on the leaking of the report were trying to portray Zuma as the victim.
"Society must avoid buying into the propaganda that Zuma is being targeted or he is an 'innocent victim'."
Ndlozi said he could not understand why the parties continued making noise about the leaks even after the public protector announced measures to avoid the leaking of reports in future.
On Monday, Madonsela said she would no longer release full provisional reports to affected and implicated parties. Instead, the parties would be furnished with information or parts of the report that relate to them for purposes of soliciting their comments.
Moving the focus
Complaining about the leaking of the report means the focus is off the issue of corruption, said Ndlozi.
" ... The most powerful man in the country is 'the mother of all eating' who went on to knowingly deceive Parliament and the public. The public protector must be given space and time to release her findings, as well as recommendations on the Nkandla investigation.
"Society must be defended from any attempts to delay and discredit the legitimate right to hear how the president of the republic used public funds to upgrade his home and then falsely and knowingly claimed that it is for security enhancement.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe is expected to brief the media later on Tuesday about his party's position on the Nkandla report.