‘ANC bigwigs stalling Nkandla report’

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Copy of Copy of ND DA3 (39807260) DAILY NEWS Lindiwe Mazibuko, parliamentary leader of the DA, left, and the partys KwaZulu-Natal leader, Sizwe Mchunu, at the press conference on the Nkandla report. Picture: Siyanda Mayeza

Durban - The DA has accused senior ANC members like former police commissioner Bheki Cele of trying to delay the release of the public protector’s report on upgrades at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead.

“Increasingly we have witnessed the governing party attempting to delay and delegitimise the public protector’s report into Nkandlagate,” DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, said at a press conference in Durban yesterday.

“On the one hand (they are) calling for the urgent release of the report, while ANC ministers and other senior members and deployees, such as Bheki Cele, attempt to delay it behind the scenes.”

According to reports, Cele, who is fingered in the report for his role in the security upgrades at the president’s home, is planning to challenge the finding against him and has asked for documentation from Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

Mazibuko was also concerned about the pressure being brought to bear on Madonsela.

“We need to prevent political pressure. We are worried since Gwede Mantashe tried to cast aspersions by saying the (public protector’s) investigation was tried in a certain way with an agenda, when in truth it was because of a complaint by myself for all South Africans.”

The DA had filed a replying affidavit with the Western Cape High Court for the release of the task team’s Nkandla report. The application is to be heard on February 18. It was not convinced that the report released was the same as that compiled in January last year by the task team.

Mazibuko has tried to gain access to the task team’s full report in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, but her request has been rejected by Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi.

In October, she approached the Western Cape High Court and it ruled that the DA’s bid for the release of the report was urgent.

The government’s Nkandla report was eventually released on December 19, but sensitive security details were omitted.

Mazibuko said the report released in December appeared to be a rewrite and it was not clear, from looking at it, which chapters, paragraphs, pages or footnotes in the original report had been omitted.

She said the public report released in December should have been the original report with the sensitive security details blacked out and the excisions clear to spot on pages dealing with security issues.

The report released in December contained no dates and did not name the authors and experts who compiled it, she said.

“Usually authors sign the final version… the author of the December 19 report is not disclosed. If the December 19 report was the January 2013 task team report, then it would have said so.”

Due to the lack of transparency regarding content that was excluded, it was impossible to ascertain the extent to which the January 2013 task team report had been rewritten and changed and what had been excluded.

“The amendments to the January 2013 task team report were made solely for valid security reasons, or political reasons.”

The DA was of the view that the security details omitted could include sections that were damning to President Jacob Zuma.

“It is important to know who the president is,” Mazibuko said.

“People need to know before the elections what really happened in Nkandla.”

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