Statement following release of Public Protector Final Report into security upgrades in Nkandla
20 March 2014
The African National Congress is relieved that the Public Protectors Final Report into the security upgrades at the private residence of the President of the Republic of South Africa, President Zuma, has finally been released to the public. The African National Congress also notes the preliminary response by Government on this matter.
The timing of the release of the report remains a source of concern in terms of the disruptive effect it will have on the election campaign of all parties. We have already observed from the reaction of many of the opposition parties that the report has provided some ammunition to many of these parties that have nothing to offer to the electorate. The ANC condemns the mischievous and downright false assertions by some political pundits and opposition politicians that the ANC intends to either ignore the Public Protectors report or undermine the validity of her findings. We are asking everyone to subject the Report to objective assessment and make informed judgement about it.
It is our view that the report of the Public Protector, in the main, confirms the findings of Inter-Ministerial Task Team Report released in December 2013. We will return to the differences in the remedies to the problems and deviations found by both investigations.
Both reports came to the same conclusions in the following areas:
- The State has not spent any money on the private dwellings of the President in Nkandla
- When the President affirmed in Parliament that he built his own home and that he has a bond, he did not mislead Parliament. The Public Protector in her investigation found that the bond on the private dwellings was declared in Parliament
- Both reports confirmed that there was no political interference in the implementation of the Prestige Project
- Both reports accept that the security of sitting and former Presidents and Deputy Presidents is the responsibility of the State and there is proper authority governing the provision of such security measures
- The State did not pay for the improvements in the dwellings of the brothers of President Jacob Zuma
Therefore the call by some for an impeachment of the President is a premeditated position that has nothing to do with the report presented by the Public Protector.
Both the Inter-Ministerial report and the Public Protector report raise serious irregularities in the implementation of the project and come to the determination that those who failed in the conduct of their duties should face the appropriate consequences, be they government officials or Ministers or former Ministers. This is in regard to omissions in the security clearance of those involved in the project, price inflation, maladministration, abuse of state resources and deviations from proper procurement procedures.
The corrective measures suggested are similar. Many of them are in advanced stages of implementation and we commend the speed with which government has moved to curb the identified abuses. It is our information that some criminal cases have already been referred and will still be referred to the law enforcement agencies. As asserted before, it is our view that the state must pursue all those who accessed state funds fraudulently.
Areas of disagreement as to what should be done with costs of the relocation of the kraal, the chicken run, the visitors centre, the swimming pool and the so-called amphitheatre must be addressed and reconciled by government. If agreement cannot be reached within a short space of time, competent institutions of state must review the reports and make a determination. This highlights the dangers of two state institutions investigating the same matter.
All public office bearers, officials and private sector companies involved in any maladministration must be brought to book and all funds that were acquired inappropriately must be recovered. The officials who have gone public with inaccurate information must be censored, like the information and description of the swimming pool as the fire pool and the details given to explain this matter constitute a misrepresentation of facts. The Minister of Police is expected to take appropriate action in this regard. The role of the architect or Principal Agent needs further scrutiny and if his actions led to undue enrichment and wrongfully accessing the state funds, such funds will have to be recovered.
We re-affirm our commitment to fighting crime and corruption including strengthening of all state institutions involve in fighting crime and corruption, including the Chapter Nine institutions. The manifesto of the ANC commits our government to iintensify the fight against corruption in both the public and private sectors through measures to restrict public servants from doing business and holding public officials individually liable for losses arising from corrupt actions. We will pursue action against companies involved in bid rigging, price fixing and corruption in past and current infrastructure build programmes.
To this end the ANC strongly recommends that the centralised tender process, to adjudicate on major tenders in all spheres of government, be put in place urgently. This Centralised Tender Agency will have as some of its core functions checking on pricing and cost effectiveness, transparency and adherence to procedures and fairness. The omissions and weaknesses identified by the Public Protector must be attended with the necessary urgency.
The African National Congress reaffirms its confidence in the work of the institutions established to support and strengthen our constitutional democracy. We will continue to work tirelessly to bring South Africa together to achieve the united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous nation envisaged by the Constitution that so many have sacrificed so much for. As we had committed when the report of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team was released, we will be inviting members of the media on a visit to the Prestige Project in Nkandla in the next week so that we can talk to the real issues beyond the report.
African National Congress
Jackson Mthembu 0823708401