The ANC has warned Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to immediately release her Nkandla report “as a matter of extreme urgency” or face the party’s wrath.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and his deputy, Jesse Duarte, demanded that Madonsela comply or risk being accused of being part of a political plot against the ruling party before next year’s general elections.
Addressing a hastily convened media briefing at the party’s Luthuli house headquarters in Joburg on Tuesday, the pair said any plans to release the report in March would adversely affect the ANC’s election campaign and cast aspersions on President Jacob Zuma.
The briefing took place in the wake of the leaking of Madonsela’s damning provisional Nkandla report to a weekly newspaper.
Madonsela reportedly found that Zuma had personally benefited from the massive security upgrades and also lied to Parliament when he claimed that he and his family had paid for all non-security upgrades.
In an unprecedented move, the ANC also demanded that Madonsela’s final report specifically say whether or not Zuma had personally requested such security upgrades.
“It is for these reasons that we reiterate our demand that the final report, not leaked snippets, is released to the public with immediate effect by the Office of the Public Protector,” Mantashe said.”
“Any further postponement allows this matter to fester in the public domain as we approach the elections. This can only be construed as a delaying tactic and a political ploy to create negativity around the image and the integrity of the president of the ANC and the ANC itself.”
Mantashe said the ANC’s demands were sparked by a series of leakages.
It was reported that Madonsela had recommended that Zuma refund the state more than R20 million which was used for the construction of a swimming pool, a cattle kraal, marquee area, extensive paving, and new houses for relocated relatives.
These items had been improperly included in the security upgrade at “enormous cost”.
A weekend newspaper said Madonsela had recommended that Parliament call Zuma to account for violating the executive code of ethics on two counts.
Mantashe and Duarte said Zuma was part of the ANC’s top six meeting which took the decision to demand answers from Madonsela. But Zuma, according to Mantashe, was not questioned about his role in the upgrades.
“The president could not answer any questions on the matter because he did not conduct an investigation into the Nkandla upgrade. These investigations were conducted by the inter-ministerial task team, Parliament joint standing committee on Intelligence and the public protector,” said Mantashe.
He also called on the government to de-classify and release the joint standing committee on intelligence report on Nkandla.
Interestingly, the report was classified by Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi, who serves on the ANC’s national executive committee.
The ANC initially insinuated that Madonsela was responsible for the leakages but later retracted the claim.
However, Mantashe warned Madonsela that any further leakages would “de-legitimise the Office of the Public Protector”.
“This, in our view, is a deliberate and misleading casting of aspersion on those investigated, in this instance the president of the ANC.”
DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko welcomed the ANC’s call to Madonsela to publicly release her report.
“It is highly problematic that the ANC has made an allegation that the Public Protector’s Office leaked the report, without sufficient evidence to support this,” she added.
These are the eight key questions the ANC wants Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to answer.
1. Did President Jacob Zuma ask for any security upgrades at his homestead?
2. Did the ANC president spend more than R200m in state money on his homestead?
3. Did President Zuma request that a swimming pool and a kraal be built and that his wife’s tuck shop be moved from its original position?
4. Did President Zuma request that bulletproof windows be put on particular windows and did he ask for the building of a waiting room at his homestead?
5. If not, who made those decisions and who is accountable?
6. The ANC wants to know which projects were built on state land and who decided on this.
7. Was it the ANC president?
8. How much was spent on the security upgrade at Nkandla and how does this compare with the expenditure on the homes of other presidents?