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Hours to go until Nkandla report release

There are fresh calls for politicians to abstain from attacking the office of the Public Protector.

Thuli Madonsela will release the findings of the much anticipated Nkandla report in Pretoria today at 12:30pm. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - There are fresh calls for politicians to abstain from attacking the office of the Public Protector and for the focus to remain on the actual findings of the Nkandla report.

Thuli Madonsela will release the findings of the much-anticipated report in Pretoria today at 12:30pm.

An aerial view of Nkandla taken in August 2013 by an aerial mapping company using a hi-tech, high-altitude mapping aircraft.

Madonsela and her team investigated how around R208 million was spent on President Jacob Zuma's private KwaZulu-Natal residence.

A flood of reaction is likely to follow the release of the report, with the most important to watch how government and the ANC respond to the findings.

The ANC believes the report is a "political one" while the Institute for Security Studies says ignoring it will weaken the country's democracy.

The institute's Judith February said, "If those in power ignore her findings that's a serious undermining of the Constitution and of our constitutional democracy."

Echoing February's statements, Constitutional law expert Pierre De Vos said the Public Protector's office must be respected.

"You can criticise the judgement of the Public Protector based on the law or on the interpretation of the facts. What you can't do is attack the integrity of Madonsela."

POLITICAL PARTY REACTION

Speaking on behalf of the government's security cluster, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said, "There will be reaction when the report is released so let's wait for the report."

The Democratic Alliance, which asked the Public Protector to investigate the costs of the Nkandla upgrades, says it's eager to hear Madonsela's findings.

The party's Mmusi Maimane said, "We'll be looking for key issues as to what role, more specifically, did Zuma play in the building of the home."

Madonsela would not be drawn on how the report would be received, but said all facts and legal aspects had been double-checked.

The release of the report is being described as a major test for South Africa and its democracy, with government and the ANC being urged to act on the findings.

A leaked copy of the interim report called on Zuma to not only account to Parliament but to pay back some of the money.

Meanwhile, ANC National Executive Committee member Thoko Didiza said on Monday that speculation around the Nkandla report must stop.

Didiza said the contents of Madonsela's report remained unknown and the party could only respond once they were made public.

The report is being released less than two months before the most fiercely contested elections since the collapse of apartheid.

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