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Nkandla report 'a test for SA's democracy'

The ISS says Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s recommendations on the issue must be implemented.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is due to make her findings public on the multimillion rand upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home on 19 March. Picture: City Press.

JOHANNESBURG - The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) on Tuesday said it's crucial that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's recommendations on Nkandla are implemented.

She is investigating multimillion rand security upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

Madonsela will make her findings public on Wednesday afternoon.

The probe is expected to reveal whether the president received any personal benefit from the upgrades to his private residence.

Over R200 million was spent on what government claims were "security upgrades".

In 2013, an inter-ministerial probe cleared Zuma of any wrongdoing.

Madonsela says her office has carefully checked all facts and legal aspects of the Nkandla report ahead of its release.

While some have questioned the public protector's motives, others have called for her office to be given more powers.

The ISS's Judith February says the release of the Nkandla report is a major test for South Africa's democracy.

"If there are findings made against the president tomorrow, those findings need to be acted upon."

Madonsela wouldn't be drawn on what kind of reaction will follow the report.

A key question is whether Madonsela's report delivers any adverse findings against Zuma and whether it calls on him to account to Parliament.

KEY POINTS TO LOOK OUT FOR

ENSafrica forensics co-head David Loxton says there are three key issues to look out for:

  1. Was there personal enrichment of our state president?

  1. Secondly, assuming that there has been some form of enrichment, who is accountable?

  1. Flowing from that, is our president actually telling the truth when he says he is unaware of what is being spent on his residence? If he is unaware, is he in fact then being willfully blind?

Loxton echoes February's sentiments and says the release of the report is critical moment in South Africa's history.

"By looking at the antics around this particular report, there is a lot of activity designed to protect the state president. One would assume that the governing party sees enormous risk at this time, especially with elections looming."

He says the report has legal standing.

"It's a finding by a Chapter Nine institution in terms of our Constitution. As we know, our Chapter Nine institutions have been designed to support a constitutional democracy, so we would like to think our leaders would take account of the findings."

Loxton says the report will have consequences.

"If for example our president was willfully blind or in fact was aware, one would like to think there would be consequences attached to that."

He says if the report does contain factual findings, an organ of state like the Hawks would have to get involved.