Johannesburg - The security cluster of ministers' decision to approach a high court for a judicial review of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's Nkandla report was a delay tactic, the EFF said on Thursday.
“...Cognisant of the possibility that the outcome of the Parliamentary ad hoc committee reviewing the Nkandla report may lead to a motion to impeach the President, they have resorted to unnecessary and costly delaying tactics,” spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said in a statement.
Earlier, acting government spokeswoman Phumla Williams said the ministers were not taking the Public Protector to court. They wanted her report to undergo a judicial review, possibly in the High Court in Pretoria.
The cluster believed Madonsela's report, titled “Secure in Comfort” and released in March, lacked clarity in some areas, and that her findings were “irrational, contradictory and... informed by material errors of law”.
“It is the ministers' view that the Public Protector's report and the investigation she conducted trespass on the separation of powers doctrine and... section 198(d) of the Constitution which vests national security in Parliament and national executive,” Williams said.
In her report Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found President Jacob Zuma and his family unduly benefited from a R246 million security upgrade to his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal, which included a swimming pool, a cattle kraal, and an amphitheatre.
She recommended, among other things, that he repay a portion of the money.
Zuma has said he would await the outcome of another probe by the Special Investigating Unit before responding to the matter.
The ad hoc committee, which was set to consider Zuma's submissions on the Nkandla report, was effectively dissolved on April 28.
A report by the committee referring the matter to the fifth Parliament was adopted, following heated arguments between ANC MPs and their opposition counterparts.
The matter was put to a vote after the ANC proposed the matter stand over for the next Parliament to consider after the May 7 elections.
The ANC used its majority to win the vote.
The Economic Freedom Fighters said it was the ANC's intention to manufacture a sub judice defence against anticipated parliamentary debate on the Nkandla report.
“This is a proactive attempt by the ANC to block any efforts to have contents of the Nkandla report tabled in the National Assembly during the debate for re-election of President Zuma,” Ndlozi said.
The Democratic Alliance, which was consulting with its lawyers with the view of joining the case as an intervening party, took a similar view.
“We... believe that it is part of a greater plan to try and block the reappointment of an ad hoc committee to consider this matter on the grounds of it being sub judice.”
The parliamentary ad hoc committee was the appropriate body to hear arguments should there be inaccuracies in the report.
“This committee will be able to listen to input from the security cluster as well as seek answers to questions which were not fully answered by the report,” the DA said.
Madonsela said earlier that she could not imagine any court finding in the security cluster ministers' favour.
“The architecture of our constitutional democracy as we understand it requires that the matter be debated in Parliament first,” Madonsela said in a statement.
“Should there be no common understanding, the matter can then be taken to court.”