19/03/2014. Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela at a press briefing were she tabled her report about the upgrade in the private home of President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Masi Losi


Johannesburg -

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela should respect Parliament's handling of the Nkandla saga, the ANC Chief Whip's office said on Sunday.

“The public protector ought to respect the process that is currently underway in Parliament and refrain from engaging in extra-parliamentary processes,” spokesman Moloto Mothapo said in a statement.

“Our view is that, rather than directing her views to the president, she must await the ad hoc committee process where she would have an opportunity to table them.”

Chief Whip Stone Sizani's office was responding to media reports on Sunday that Madonsela expressed concern that Zuma was second-guessing the recommendations she made in her report on Nkandla, titled “Secure in Comfort”.

City Press reported that Madonsela wrote a letter to Zuma noting that in his 20-page reply to her report he did not address her findings or remedial action.

In his reply Zuma indicated Police Minister Nathi Nhleko needed to determine if he should pay back any of the R246 million spent on security upgrades at his Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal, homestead.

“I am concerned that the decision you have made regarding the police minister gives him power he does not have under law, which is to review my decision taken in pursuit of the powers of administrative scrutiny I am given... by the Constitution,” Madonsela wrote in the letter to Zuma, according to the newspaper.

“As I have already indicated, reports of the public protector are by law not subject to any review or second-guessing by a minister and/or the Cabinet.”

Her findings and remedial action could only be set aside by a court of law, she wrote.

Mothapo said the report was before Parliament and an ad hoc committee, and that the legality of her letter was questionable.

“The irony of the... letter to the president is that, while it makes serious accusations regarding the president's alleged undermining of democratic institutions, she herself elects a path that undermines the authority of the legislative sphere of government, Parliament, and its constitutional processes,” he said.

“It sets a dangerous precedent in which her office is placed above that of Parliament. Given that the report of the president, together with other reports relating to the security upgrades... are currently before Parliament, her letter seems to be opening a parallel process whose legality is questionable.” - Sapa