Govt, Madonsela to fight Nkandla battle in court

Government confirms it’s preparing legal action against the public protector over her Nkandla report.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Government says it will approach the high court to have Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's controversial report on the security upgrades at President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead reviewed.

Ministers in the security cluster say some of the findings and the actions recommended in the report are irrational and, in some cases, contradictory.

As a result, government says it would be difficult to implement some of the recommendations and it needs clarity from the courts.

The state's legal team is already compiling court papers and government expects them to be filed at the high court within the next week.

Government spokesperson Phumla Williams has told Eyewitness News the ministers did not take the decision for a judicial review lightly.

"I think it is a decision that we had to take in order to deal with the issues that are raised by the public protector. There is no point in us saying we'll implement recommendations that are, in our mind, contradictory."

In March, Madonsela found that Zuma unduly benefitted from the R246 million upgrades to his private KwaZulu-Natal home.

The report, released in March, said the upgrades cost around R246 million and that the president and his family unduly benefited from them.

Madonsela said government dismally failed to manage service providers and prevented project costs from rocketing from R27 million to the current figure.

She recommended that Zuma pay back a percentage of the costs involved in building features such as the swimming pool, the visitor centre and a cattle kraal.

But the president has publicly stated that he never asked for the upgrades and would not pay back any funds.

In Parliament, an ad-hoc committee was set up shortly before the elections to consider the report, but was soon put on hold until after the polls.