Johannesburg - The security cluster of ministries has asked Public Protector Thuli Madonsela for “clarity” on certain aspects of her Nkandla report.
The ministers had studied the report on the costly security upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal, a statement released by the government communications and information system (GCIS) said on Tuesday.
“Based on this, there are several areas on which we require further information and clarification. A letter has been sent to the public protector in this regard and we will now wait for her reply.
“We have already welcomed the public protector's report that there was no political interference in the implementation of the security upgrades.”
However, they required “clarity about certain aspects” of the report.
The ministers believed it would be disrespectful to the office of the public protector to “go into precise detail of our communication with her office at this time”.
“However, suffice to say we have sought clarity on some areas which we believe are confusing and became evident in our detailed reading of the report.”
The next step was for the office of the public protector to respond, after which “we will be able to make a more informed decision on the way forward”.
Madonsela's office had an enormous responsibility to ensure its findings were factually accurate and consistent with the law.
“We, as part of government, have a responsibility to study this report and if necessary seek clarity on aspects of the report that require clarification in the spirit of intergovernmental relations and co-operation.
“We reiterate our support the institution of the office of the public protector, considering it and other Chapter 9 institutions as vital to the health of a democratic society.
“However, this does not mean that government has no right to seek clarity on areas of the report which would seem to be confusing.
“Such interactions are universal with regards to similar types of ombudsman reports in any democracy,” the ministers said.
In her report “Secure in Comfort”, Madonsela found that Zuma and his family improperly benefited from the R246 million security upgrades, which included a swimming pool, a cattle kraal and an amphitheatre.
Madonsela also found that Zuma breached the Executive Members' Ethics Act.
She recommended that a percentage of the money be repaid.
Zuma, in his response to the report, said last week he would await a Special Investigating Unit report on the matter before giving full and proper consideration to the matter. - Sapa