Sunday, April 14, 2013

Row over Nkandla documents

The Department of Public Works has contradicted reports that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s investigation into Nkandla was being delayed because it failed to hand over key documents.

Madonsela’s office had indicated at the weekend that the investigation into President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead would take longer than expected because it awaited key documents.

A spokesman for the public protector, Oupa Segalwe, was quoted as saying they were still waiting for the Public Works Department to provide crucial documents.

Public Works spokesman Sabelo Mali said the department had co-operated with the office of the public protector at all times.

“When the department was requested to provide documents relating to the Nkandla project, the department duly complied with the request and subsequent further requests. We have provided the public protector with all the documents in the department’s possession in relation to the matter,” said Mali.

He said the department had several correspondences with the office of the public protector on the matter, including answering questions of clarity to assist the investigation.

Segalwe clarified his statement on Monday, saying he was not referring to the Department of Public Works specifically, but to the “state”.

He said he never said the Department of Public Works was the department responsible for the delay.

“We need to correct that. We are still waiting for the state, and the documents are not from them.

“We are in no position to say which department,” said Segalwe.

Madonsela’s report into Nkandla is being eagerly awaited, especially after the department’s own probe found that that there was no evidence that public money was spent on Zuma’s private residence.

The report found that no “house belonging to the president was built with public money”.

The investigation revealed, however, that 15 service providers including consultants were contracted by the Department of Public Works to render services ranging from bulletproof windows to security fence construction and many other services.

It recommended that in view of the supply chain irregularities found by the task team, the report would be referred to the law enforcement agencies, including the Special Investigation Unit, the auditor- general and the police with the view of instituting criminal proceedings.

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