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Madonsela reasserts her independence

Thuli Madonsela has revealed the extent to which her investigation was allegedly obstructed by govt.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - As government prepares to respond to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's explosive court documents, she has again warned that should the state interdict her, the release of the Nkandla report to the public will be delayed further.

Yesterday, Madonsela revealed the extent to which her Nkandla investigation was allegedly obstructed by government in a stinging 24-page affidavit.

The affidavit was filed in response to the state security cluster's court application on Friday to interdict her from releasing her preliminary findings into the R200 million upgrades at Nkandla.

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

The Public Protector's office was granted a postponement of the hearing in order to allow Madonsela more time to reply.

Madonsela said 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.

The state is now expected to file its replying papers before its application is heard in court on Friday.

Madonsela has made several damning revelations and allegations in her court papers.

In her affidavit, she asks how the state security cluster can claim her report contains security breaches when a private architect without security experience or clearance was involved in every detail of the upgrade.

She also questioned how much money was paid to the architect.

WHAT'S NEXT?

The next step in this battle will see the state answer the damning allegations contained in Madonsela's affidavit.

Flexing her muscles, she has turned to the Constitution to remind the security cluster and ministers that she remains in charge of her investigation and no one can dictate to her how to run her office.

Madonsela has also gone as far as to accuse the ministers of distributing the confidential report without her consent.

Meanwhile, constitutional law expert Marinus Wiechers says Madonsela is well within her rights to continue with her report.

"The Public Protector is absolutely correct. She is independent and can conduct her own research."

Opposition parties have criticised the cluster's court application as a delay tactic.

Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele has called on South Africans to stand together and defend the office of the Public Protector.

Ramphele said the ANC is undermining Madonsela's office and said this wasn't the first time the ANC had interfered with investigations.

"We've seen them attacking the Scorpions and in the end abolishing them. This is now a major threat to the office of the Public Protector."

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe has denied interfering in Madonsela's work, saying it is up to her to make the report public or not.

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