Thuli needs help
The Public Protector now deserves to get all the support that she can get now, to call on President Jacob Zuma to account for everything in her report on the Nkandla investigation.
Zuma’s reply to the Public Protectors report and her recommendations about Nkandla lacked a great deal of accountability, and Zuma almost basically ignore all of her recommendations.
The Public Protector recommended that Zuma should pay back to the State the monies that have been used on construction work at his Nkandla private residence in respect of work that are in no way security related, i.e. the swimming pool (later christened to be a fire-pool), the amphitheatre, and the cattle kraal but to name some, through which he and his family unduly benefitted at the cost to taxpayers.
The Public Protector recommended that he should pay back a substantial amount, falling short of the actual amount. The SAPS and the Treasury in reference to her report to assist in determining how much Zuma should pay back on these items that he and his family benefitted from.
In his reply Zuma though said that Nathi Nhleko, Minister of Police, has to determine if he should indeed pay back anything or not.
On this the Public Protectors in her letter to Zuma said that his reply is insufficient and his decision to say that Nhleko must decide if he should pay back any or some of the money is unconstitutional.
The ANC’s predicted reply to her letter is that the Public Protector is treating the matter against Zuma as ‘a personal matter outside of her mandate as defined in the Constitution’.
Zizi Kodwa, the national spokesperson of the ANC even went so far as to ‘question her neutrality, credential and the reason for the report’
His reaction is witness to the fact of the lack of knowledge within the ANC of the work of the Public Protector and the mandate. Only a Court can declare the findings of the Public Protector as null and void. Zuma can’t appoint his police minister to decide on if he should pay back any of the money.
The Parliamentary Committee that is going to discuss Nkandla, in actual fact, are mandated to see that the re commendation of the Public Protector in this matter, is acted upon and executed. If the Committee doubts the recommendations in the report, it has to approach a Court of Law to have it challenged.
Advocate Thuli Madonsela can expect personal attacks to increase against her and her office, with the ANC trying everything possible to undermine the functions of her office.
Organizations in civil society and the opposition parties in the National Assembly need to strengthen the hand of the Public Protector at this point in time.
The Public Protector is a vital and important institution and its powers cannot be watered down.