Nkandla: War of words continues

THe ANC maintains Madonsela's office is behind the leak of the provisional Nkandla report.

Thuli Madonsela (centre) has categorically denied that she or her office were behind the leak of the provisional Nkandla report. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The ANC has continued to accuse Public Protector Thuli Madonsela of leaking a draft report into the multimillion rand upgrades at President Jacob Zuma's private Nkandla residence.

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 President Zuma be called to account to Parliament for the "substantial personal benefit" at his Kwazulu-Natal homestead.

The interim report, which government's security cluster tried to block, also said Zuma should pay the state back for all unnecessary expenditure.

Yesterday, Madonsela categorically denied she or her office were behind the leak and rubbished claims she was dragging her heels in order to play politics.

She was responding to allegations made by ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe during an urgent briefing held at Luthuli House on Tuesday.

Mantashe appeared to come close to declaring open warfare on Madonsela, saying there seemed to be a deliberate campaign to cast aspersions on Zuma by releasing just snippets of information.

He said he now wants to see the entire report and is not willing to wait.

During her response, Madonsela said if all goes according to plan, the final Nkandla report will be released in mid-January.

She said if her office wanted to leak the report, it would've done so a long time ago.

"I haven't said I have tightened security in my office, we have changed nothing in our internal system. But I have said we have tightened access to our reports by external people."

Madonsela said despite so-called "case hardening", her final findings will be delivered with integrity.

The ANC's response came minutes after Madonsela's briefing.

The party softened its language, but listed a series of provisional reports which have leaked and had only her office as the common denominator.

Meanwhile, the ANC in parliament says the Democratic Alliance (DA)'s plans to push for Zuma's impeachment over Nkandla are mischievous and not worthy of a response.

The office of ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani was reacting to comments made by DA Parliamentary Leader Lindiwe Mazibuko who said if it was found that Zuma deliberately misled parliament over the Nkandla spending, her party will move for his impeachment.

Under the Constitution, a president can be impeached if there's two-thirds support for this from the National Assembly's 400 members of Parliament.

Mazibuko said she is aware it won't be easy.

"I certainly don't anticipate it will be a picnic. I am quite sure that given the ANC's record of placing the protection of government and President Zuma above all things, the ANC caucus in parliament will be reluctant."