Government has issued a statement on Thursday saying that it will approach the high court to receive clarity on the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela’s report on the President’s Nkandla homestead.
The Puplic Protector found that President Jacob Zuma and his family had benefited unduly from the R246 million, “security”, upgrade on his homestead at Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal. During the upgrade, a pool, a cattle kraal, and an amphitheatre were built.
The original upgrade was approved at a cost of R27 million.
The Public Protector gave a recommendation in her report, titled “Secure in Comfort”, that President Zuma repay an undisclosed percentage of the upgrade cost, due to the non-essential additions.
The security cluster and the ministers which form part of the group, claim that the report was irrational. Government spokesperson, Phumla Williams, also stated that the reports are, “contradictory”.
“I think it is a decision that we had to take in order to deal with the issues that are raised by the public protector. There is no point in us saying we’ll implement recommendations that are, in our mind, contradictory,” Williams told the press.
According to the state, the Public Protector’s investigation and report infringe upon the separation of powers doctrine and they are an offence against section 198(d) of the constitution. These laws vest national security in Parliament and national executive.
It is expected that the High Court will receive a motion from the state’s legal team before the turn of the next week.
The Public Protector, however, believes that the security cluster of ministers’ plan to seek a high court juridical review of the report is premature.
“The architecture of our constitutional democracy as we understand it requires that the matter be debated in Parliament first”, Madonsela stated earlier today.
She explained that only after a matter has been debated in Parliament, can the matter be made an issue of the court. She also expressed the view that no court would rule in favour of the ministers.
An ad-hoc committee, comprising of majority ANC members, was formed to discuss the matter of the report and come to an agreement on the issue of President Zuma repaying a portion of the upgrade. However, due to the national election taking place, a proposal was made by the ANC to postpone the matter until after the 7 May elections. The vote went the way of the majority ANC’s proposal.
The President claims that he is a regular citizen, who has a right to be protected, and that he has a bond. Thus far, evidence of a bond has not been produced.