Public Protector’s Interim Report on Police Leases
The Public Protector is saddened by inaccurate media reports regarding the preliminary report relating to the investigation into complaints and allegations of maladministration, improper and unlawful conduct by the Department of Public Works and the South African Police Service (SAPS), involving two building leases for police accommodation.
According to news articles in the Cape Argus and Daily News, which were published on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 and another news story published in the Pretoria News on Thursday, 11 November 2010, the Public Protector is “refusing” to publicise “findings” in this matter and the contents of the preliminary report. The article in the Pretoria News further creates an impression that there are two separate investigations into the matter, one conducted by the Public Protector and the other handled by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).
The Public Protector would like to put it on record that the investigation is a joint effort between her office and the SIU and is still underway. As such, there are no “findings” yet as more evidence is still being collected by way of interviews with various people and scrutiny of relevant documents.
With regard to the preliminary report, the Public Protector would like to confirm that it has indeed been finalised and was sent to National Police Commissioner of Police, General Bheki Cele, on Monday, 25 October. This was in response to a request for progress on this important investigations involving contract with enormous financial implications. However, the report cannot be made public due to the fact that its contents include observations on the merits of the case. A release of the report to the public would accordingly jeopardize the investigation.
While it is true that the Public Protector promised a preliminary report, upon finalizing the preliminary report, a decision was made that the details should remain confidential to allow the investigation to run smoothly.
At this stage, the only information that can be made public regarding the investigation is a process report, which does not contain information that may preempt the investigation or prejudice parties to this matter. In terms of progress made, the Public Protector has interviewed a number of people, who cannot be identified for obvious reasons. The investigation primarily involves the scrutiny of documents mainly from the police and public works and interviewing people. If deemed necessary, a forensic element could be added.
Initially, the investigation was scheduled to be completed by September 2010. Subsequent to the announcement of these timelines, the Public Protector met with the Head of the SIU and the two decided on a joint investigation. In pursuit of the agreement, a joint team comprising members of the Public Protector South Africa and SIU was established. A single case plan was developed and the idea was to complete the investigation by November 2010, at the latest.
However, due to the need to reconcile approaches between the two institutions and the complexity of the investigation, it has not been possible to meet project plan time frames. The full report on the investigation will be released by the Public Protector and the Head of SIU as soon as possible and after affected parties involved have been informed of the findings.
In the meantime the police and the Department of Public Works have been kept abreast of developments in the investigation. They have been advised and agreed not to incur any further commitments on the two contested transactions.
Manager: Outreach, Education and Communication
Public Protector South Africa
(012) 366 7035
072 264 3273