Madonsela responds to govt's court bid

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says government’s court challenge will not succeed.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says government’s court challenge will not succeed. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - As opposition parties and legal experts criticise government for taking the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's Nkandla report on judicial review, she said the court challenge would not succeed.

While full details will only be revealed in court papers, the government said it believed matters of national security fell beyond the scope of the Public Protector's investigations.

Madonsela's report found that President Jacob Zuma and his family had benefitted unduly from the R246 million upgrades to his KwaZulu-Natal homestead and recommended that he pay back some of the money.

The Public Protector said government's move was premature.

"I'm not questioning government's decision to go to court, although I think they will lose the matter, I'm questioning the process because everyone must go through the Parliamentary process."

Furthermore, legal experts slated the government's grounds for taking Madonsela's Nkandla report on review.

Picture: City Press.

Constitutional law expert professor Pierre de Vos said the argument was laughable.

De Vos argued government would have to prove that no rational person could have come to the same conclusions that Madonsela did.

"It's legal nonsense that no court in South Africa will make without laughing it out of court."

A special Parliamentary committee set up to consider the Public Protector's report was disbanded last month and the matter referred to the country's new Parliament, which will convene for the first time next week.

Lawson Naidoo from constitutional body Casac said the court challenge would prevent Parliament from taking up the matter.

"Parliament won't be able to scrutinise the matter while it's before the courts and they will have to wait for the court's decision."

Video: ANC won't apologise for Nkandla.

Opposition parties also believe it's another bid to protect the president from Parliamentary scrutiny.

The Democratic Alliance's James Selfe said, "It's a delaying tactic that has characterised the presidency of Zuma."

The Freedom Front Plus also slammed the move.