Public Protector expected the Ad-Hoc committee on Nkandla to interview her, holds a media briefing to clear misstatements and distortions on her Secure in Comfort report
Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela believes that, in line with South Africa’s constitution, public functionaries that are involved in decision-making are expected to exhaust all sources of information that may shed light on the issues being deliberated upon.
The Public Protector expressed these views while taking part in the 2nd Dialogue on Development and Rights at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg on Thursday night, where she fielded questions on, among other things, her report titled Secure in Comfort.
The discourse was in a form of a panel discussion themed “The Mandela Memorial Dialogue: Social Justice and Development”.
Responding to a question on what her side of the story on Nkandla was since it looked as though the Parliamentary Ad-Hoc Committee on the matter was not going to allow her to be interviewed on her report, the Public Protector she had expected Parliament to allow her to shed light on the issues contained in the report.
“I expected Parliament to allow me to be interviewed because that is what I believe is the expectation from the Constitution when public functionaries are involved in decision-making,” she explained. “They should ensure that they exhaust all sources of information that may shed light on the issue they want to decide on. I have information on the issue they are deliberating on and I would like to share that information.”
The Public Protector also told the meeting that key to the information concerned is the discovery she made after receiving a letter from the President on 23 July 2015 that the President was habouring under a wrong impression regarding what the remedial action contained in her report required of the President.
In the letter concerned, the President advised the Public Protector that he appointed the Minister of Police to determine what he did on the understanding that was what the remedial action on her report required of him.
The President states the following in the letter:
“The involvement of the Minister of Police in giving effect to your report was foreshadowed by the recommendation that:
‘The President is to:
Engage the Minister of Police with a view to determine a fair amount to be paid by him in respect of the items identified in this report as not listed in the security list and not reasonably linked to security:’”
The Public Protector indicated that her remedial action did not include such a statement. The remedial action from the Public Protector’s report, as stipulated on Pages 68 and 442 thereof was as follows:
Take steps, with the assistance of the National Treasury and the SAPS a, to determine the reasonable cost of the measures implemented by the DPW at his private residence that do not relate to security, and which include the Visitor’s Centre, the amphitheatre, the cattle kraal and chicken run, the swimming pool.”
The Public Protector explained that the remedial action specifically required the President himself to determine how much he was going to pay, assisted by the Treasury and South African Police Service. She added that no Minister was asked to make a determination or to advise the President because the implementation of this part of remedial action was always going to be a technical exercise. The Public Protector is preparing to write to the President to alert him to this.
She thanked civil society for getting involved in the pursuit of social justice, indicating that it was part of the architecture of South Africa’s constitutional democracy that citizens should play a role in supporting and strengthening constitutional democracy.
The Public Protector also spoke of the country’s constitutional vision that everybody’s potential should be freed and their quality of life improved, emphasizing that for this to be achieved the state had to be accountable, act with integrity and respect the rule of law.
The release of the Passenger Railway Agency of South Africa report
On this matter, the Public Protector regrets to inform the public that the release of the report, which was set down for Monday, August 03, 2015, will be delayed yet again. This is due to the fact that the responses to the Section 7(9) notices that have been received from parties are extensive and the Public Protector is still considering them and applying her mind. Details of the release will be communicated in due course. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
However, the media briefing will continue as planned. The platform will instead be used to clarify some of the public misstatements and distortions on the content of the Secure in Comfort report. The Public Protector is of the view that, left uncorrected, the misstatements and distortions have a potential to undermine and erode public confidence in her office, an important independent institution charged with strengthening the country’s constitutional democracy through public accountability.
The event will take place as follows:
|Venue:||Conference Room, Public Protector House, 175 Lunnon Street, Hillcrest Office Park, Hillcrest, Pretoria, 0083/td>|
|Date:||Monday, August 03, 2015|
NB: Members of the media are requested to confirm their attendance with Oupa Segalwe on firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, contact:
Public Protector South Africa
Cell: 079 507 0399