/ 3 November 2013

Madonsela can take Nkandla report to Parliament, says Jeffery

Madonsela Can Take Nkandla Report To Parliament, Says Jeffery

Nothing prevents Public Protector Thuli Madonsela from handing her final report into alleged misspending of state funds on President Jacob Zuma's home in Nkandla to Parliament, Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery said on Sunday.

"The public protector accounts to the National Assembly of Parliament so all reports can be submitted there," Jeffery told a media briefing of Cabinet's justice and security cluster in Pretoria on Sunday.

He added that the president also accounted to Parliament as a whole "but more specifically to the National Assembly."

The deputy minister, who has a history of sparring with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela over the extent of her independence, was asked about the report after a row broke out between her and the ANC chief whip's office this week.

It came after Madonsela said she faced "a dilemma" because the law was not clear on where she should submit reports on matters involving the president, to whom she usually submitted all other findings.

Madonsela's office said she recently wrote to the secretary of Cabinet whether there had been progress in resolving where reports regarding the ethical conduct of the president should be submitted but had not received a clear response.

Chief whip Stone Sizani then accused her of trying to create the impression that the president and the ruling party were trying to evade accountability in the controversy over R206 million spent on security upgrades at Zuma's home in the KwaZulu-Natal hamlet.

His spokesman said it was plain that the report should be submitted to Parliament.

The opposition has expressed concern that if the report was handed to the legislature, the findings could be covered-up by delegating it to a committee that meets behind closed doors.

Madonsela herself moved to allay those fears in remarks to the Sunday press.

She vowed that the report would be made public, but suggested this would take another month. Her provisional report was this week given to ministries in the security cluster for comment.

In the same press reports, Madonsela hinted that those who expected her investigation to deliver damning findings against Zuma, might be "disappointed".

"There is a real chance that we may come out and say things aren't really as bad as they seem," she told the Sunday Tribune.  –Sapa