‘Ministers tried to stop Nkandla probe’

The public protector says her office had to fend off several attempts by ministers to stop the probe.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Pictures: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Wednesday revealed the extent to which her Nkandla investigation was allegedly obstructed by government.

The allegations were made in a stinging 24-page affidavit in response to the state security cluster's court application filed on Friday to interdict her from releasing her preliminary findings on the Nkandla matter.

Madonsela's report details the findings of her investigation into the R200 million upgrades at President Jacob Zuma's private home in KwaZulu-Natal.

The cluster said it needed more time to assess whether the president or national security was put at risk by the findings in the report.

The public protector's office was granted a postponement of the hearing on Friday in order to allow Madonsela more time to reply.

According to Madonsela, her office had to fend off several separate attempts by ministers to stop the investigation.

She said ministers wanted her to hold off until similar investigations were conducted by the Auditor-General's office and the Special Investigating Unit.

Madonsela said she was not convinced those investigations were being carried out and believed, if they were, the findings would be presented directly to the president.

She also revealed her investigation was "frustrated" and in many instances "obstructed" by government, with her team only allowed access to documents for short periods of time or investigators being excluded from crucial meetings.

Madonsela added despite claiming to have found a plethora of security breaches, government had yet to illustrate a single example of this.

She argued she personally made sure there was no breach of security in the report and slammed the cluster for attempting to disrupt the process of the investigation (see graphic below).

But the security cluster has called Madonsela unreasonable, saying they weren't trying to tell her how to run her office.

Meanwhile, opposition parties have criticised the cluster's court application as a delay tactic.

The interdict application will be heard on Friday.

The Public Protector's office explains how provisional reports are handled.