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Nkandla report: Madonsela responds to ANC

The public protector called an urgent briefing to clarify “distortions” about her interim report.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela addresses media on her Nkandla report in Pretoria on 4 December 2013. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Wednesday called an urgent briefing in Pretoria to clarify "distortions" about her Nkandla interim report.

Her probe looked into over R200 million upgrades at President Jacob Zuma's private home in KwaZulu-Natal.

On Tuesday, the ANC accused Madonsela and her office of leaking an interim version of her report to the press.

It said if Madonsela did not release her final finding as soon as possible, they would assume she was playing politics ahead of next year's elections.

The Mail & Guardian on Friday published sections of the preliminary report, which indicated that a number of features on the property, including a swimming pool, cattle ranch and tuck shop, were paid for with state funds.

It recommended that Zuma be called to account to Parliament for the "substantial personal benefit" at the homestead.

The report further said the president pay back the state for all unnecessary expenditure.

But Madonsela once again denied she or her office leaked the report.

She said her only aim now is to complete it.

"This nation is aware why this report has dragged until now. We did everything that was humanly possible to conclude this report long ago.

Madonsela also denies having any plans of releasing the report just before next year's elections, as the ANC fears.

She's asked for space to do her work with integrity, saying she's doing everything she can to release the final report as soon as possible.

Mandonsela did admit that the environment around the report has been "poisoned".

She says she aims to release her final Nkandla report in early January.

Madonsela once again condemned the leaks, saying they undermine the final findings.

Last week, she told the public that leaking the report is against the law.

On Monday, Madonsela said all future provisional reports would be limited in their scope when they are submitted to affected and implicated parties for comment.

This move is aimed at stemming the possibility of future leaks.

DA THREATS

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it will move to have Zuma impeached if it emerges that he deliberately misled Parliament over his Nkandla home.

The Constitution provides for a sitting president to be impeached if they break the law, breach the Constitution or become incapable of carrying out their duties.

In March, Zuma assured Members of Parliament (MPs) he had no knowledge of the costs of upgrading his home.

DA Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko says she will not hesitate to act if the public protector's investigation shows that Zuma was lying.

"If it becomes clear that the president did deliberately mislead the House, then I will certainly move for an impeachment against him."

She says it is unlikely any homeowner would not ask questions about extensive renovations to their property.

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