/ 8 November 2013

Nkandla report: Security cluster take Madonsela to court

Public protector Thuli Madonsela has taken IEC chair Pansy Tlakula to task over a lease agreement.
Public protector Thuli Madonsela has taken IEC chair Pansy Tlakula to task over a lease agreement.

The security cluster has brought an urgent interdict against public protector Thuli Madonsela. The cluster served papers on Madonsela on Thursday, according to sources. An application will be heard at the high court in Pretoria on Friday at 2pm.

The cluster, which includes state security, police and defence,? claims it needs more time to review and respond to the provisional report into the more than R200-million upgrade at President Jacob Zuma's private home in Nkandla.

The state's security cluster was given until November 8 to respond to the provisional report.

Madonsela's spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said the public protector normally shares interim reports with a specified deadline for those given access to it. This period is normally up to 10 working days or two weeks, but parties can request an extension. The security cluster had requested a two-week extension to go through the report, but was granted two days.

The security cluster also claims the cluster has not been given a fair hearing.

According to Segalwe, the public protector "received court papers indicating the state's intention to interdict and restrain her from releasing her provisional report on the security upgrades at the president's private home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal to affected, implicated and interested parties for comments".

State security spokesperson Brian Dube and department of justice spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga told the Mail & Guardian they were not aware of the interdict. ?

Nkandla report clears Zuma
Meanwhile, the final report into the upgrade at Nkandla has yet to be released but Madonsela has already had to defend her office from both the ruling and opposition parties.

Independent newspapers has reported that Madonsela's provisional Nkandla report clears Zuma of any wrongdoing, but paints a picture of senior government officials bending over backwards to please the president, without his instructions.

The security cluster made a special request to have access to the report first, "with a view to commenting on whether or not it compromises the security of the president", according to the public protector.

Other parties, including respondents and complainants, will get the report soon after the security cluster returns it to Madonsela, but they will view the report "at the public protector's offices, in the presence of members of the investigation team, due to security reasons".

Madonsela plans to make the final report public, but it could be a month before this happens. – Additional reporting by Mmanaledi Mataboge