Johannesburg - Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has cast doubt on the legitimacy of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s final Nkandla report, ahead of its release on Wednesday.
Sisulu also defended the ANC’s persistence to keep President Jacob Zuma as the head of state, despite increasing concerns that the ruling party’s popularity was dwindling because of the many scandals associated with him.
Instead, she blamed opposition parties and the media for Zuma and the ANC’s woes ahead of the May 7 polls.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Star at the weekend, Sisulu sought to pour cold water on Madonsela’s much-anticipated final report into the more than R200 million security upgrades at Zuma’s private Nkandla home.
“I hope she (Madonsela) would have finished her report, by the way.
“I hope she has completed her investigation because for an investigation of this magnitude, I don’t think she has given herself enough time,” Sisulu said on the sidelines of the ANC’s election campaign in Sasolburg.
Sisulu said while she remained “blindly neutral” about any probe from Madonsela’s office, she was doubtful that the probe into Nkandla had been completed before its release to the public on Wednesday.
“We will see when it (the report) comes out. But as for us and myself as the minister of public service and administration, I would like to have very concrete evidence to say that it is possible for us to form a disciplinary process (against) officials who are responsible and make sure we take immediate disciplinary action.”
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe echoed Sisulu’s sentiments on Sunday, suggesting that the ruling party would not take the Nkandla report seriously.
“We do not have any expectations from it. It has now become a political report, and we will handle it as such. There might be findings… that might be sensational, but we expect the same information from what has been said,” Mantashe said after attending a church service in Tumahole township in Parys, Free State.
A leaked report of Madonsela’s provisional Nkandla report last year recommended that Zuma pay back the money spent on the upgrades at his home.
Mantashe said the ANC planned to invite the media to Nkandla “so that they can see themselves” after the report was released.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said recently that lack of communication around taxpayers’ money being used for the building of Zuma’s private home “has taken its toll on not only the image of the Presidency, but the government and the whole country”.
When asked about Motlanthe’s remarks, Sisulu laid the blame squarely on the media and political parties.
She said: “That is the perception that is put out by people like yourselves about Nkandla. That is what is being used to hurt the ANC.”
Asked what her view of Madonsela was, Sisulu said: “I don’t have any view. I just think that she is a determined woman and sometimes I agree with her findings, sometimes I don’t agree with them. That is the nature of life, but I just find that she is a determined woman.”