On Monday, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela visited the subject of her controversial investigation; the home of President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. Her probe relates to the allegations that the president dipped his hands in the taxpayers’ account when he renovated his home. Opposition parties and members of the public are anxiously waiting for the outcome of the public protector’s probe. The big question is: “Did taxpayer money fund the upgrades at the president’s private residence?”
The Public News Hub recently quoted Thuli Madonsela when she said that the investigation is almost complete and she will be able to share the resultant report in due time. Madonsela felt that it was necessary to inspect the presidential homestead to assist her office in drawing its conclusions. She wanted to see “the work done by government departments on the security upgrade of the residence”.
President Jacob Zuma agreed to the public protector’s request to inspect the premises but not before discussing the matter with the ministers concerned with presidential and national security. The Ministry of Defense issued a statement which read: “The ministers and the public protector also discussed the security protocols related to the nature of the visit and the support that the public protector requires in this regard.”
As has been highlighted in the media, President Jacob Zuma is especially concerned about making sure that his home is safe. A large portion of the R 206 million renovations account was reserved for security features including an extensive network of air-conditioners to minimize the security hazard of open windows. Some of the money was used for elaborate landscaping, a nursery and a kraal for the president’s livestock. To ensure that security at the Nkandla compound would not be compromised during the Public Protector’s visit, Defense Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was appointed to accompany Thuli Madonsela.
The Democratic Alliance is eager to hear the outcome of the investigation into the scandal that has been dubbed ‘Nkandlagate’. There is already speculation that the report may not be satisfactory to some because Thuli Madonsela admitted that she would remove some of the information included in the report. It would be careless to disclose specific details about the security upgrades at the Zuma home.
Kgalalelo Masibi, the spokeswoman for Thuli Madonsela, explained how the report will be revealed. She said: “Upon receipt of the outstanding information, the public protector will finalize her provisional report, which will only be shared with the parties involved with a view to soliciting their comments.” The public protector will consider the comments “and, to the extent possible, factor them into the final report, which will then be released to the public.” No date has been given for the expected public release of the ‘Nkandlagate’ report.