Public Protector welcomes Security Cluster Ministers' withdrawal of their court bid against her
Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela welcomes the decision by the Ministers of Police, Defence, State Security and Public Works to abandon their urgent application against her, due to be heard in the Pretoria High Court on 15 November 2013. The only arguments that will be heard by the Court relate to costs.
The Ministers had asked the Court to order the Public Protector not to disclose her provisional report regarding alleged irregularities in public expenditure at Nkandla to implicated persons and to the complainants in the matter. They had invoked the personal safety of the President and the security of the State as grounds for their application.
Such disclosure – under strictly-supervised circumstances to protect any confidentiality – is one applied by the Public Protector in accordance with the procedure she has devised to balance fairness to implicated and affected parties and any issue of confidentiality that may exist in any particular matter, with the openness and transparency required by the Constitution.
The powers given to the Public Protector in this regard are pursuant to section 182 of the Constitution and inter alia sections 6(4)(a)(i) and 6(4)(b)(iii), 7(1)(a) and (b), 7(2) and 7(9)(a) of the Public Protector Act 23 of 1994.
The Minister’s abandonment of their application comes after an affidavit filed by the Public Protector answering the contentions advanced by the Ministers as to why the Court should intervene to prohibit her from carrying out these functions.
The decision by the Ministers not to pursue the application is welcomed both in the interests of co-operative governance and in recognising the autonomy and independence of the Public Protector. The Public Protector shall accordingly continue on course to complete the Nkandla investigation and final report, following consideration of any responses by the implicated and other affected parties to whom the provisional report will be disclosed.
The Public Protector will indicate the timelines once she has assessed the amount of work to be done with regard to evaluating the submissions expected from the Ministers on Friday, November 15, 2013.
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