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Govt to pay Madonsela's legal costs

The state will foot the bill after its decision to drop its court application against Madonsela.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Ministers in the security cluster on Friday agreed to pay Thuli Madonsela's legal costs in what may be interpreted by some as a further victory for the Public Protector.

On Thursday government officially abandoned its interdict application against Madonsela which had initially aimed to stop her from releasing a draft version of her Nkandla report.

Madonsela investigated how more than R200 million was spent on upgrades to the private home of President Jacob Zuma.

With the interdict application abandoned and a last-minute agreement over legal costs in place, there was nothing for the lawyers to argue on Friday.

Madonsela's advocate Jeremy Gauntlett took care of the formalities.

"Could it be placed in the file the notice received that the ministers have formally withdrawn the proceedings."

Security cluster ministers now have until close of business today to give Madonsela their comments about the security breaches they have identified.

Madonsela denies that any such breaches exist and says she is now focused on finishing her report.

Meanwhile, Democratic Alliance (DA) Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko says the security cluster's decision to take the matter to court was improper.

"The Public Protector and her office are protected by the Constitution. They are only accountable to the Constitution and the law and they report to Parliament. No minister can interfere in their work. No member of government has any responsibility for them. What effectively happened is that the ministers tried to use the courts to create for themselves a power they didn't have over her."

Mazibuko says the whole court application was politically driven.

To read the state's affidavit document click here.

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