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Media want to attend Nkandla hearings

News24 says presence of the media means the public will know what evidence is being led at these hearings.

FILE: The Nkandla homestead. Picture: City Press.

JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers for News24 say they believe reporters should be allowed into the public works ministry's Nkandla hearings.

They say this is because that's the only way the public will find out what really happened during the upgrades to the president's home.

In March, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released her Nkandla report and found that President Jacob Zuma and his family unduly benefited from the upgrades at his KwaZulu-Natal home.

But earlier this month, the Nkandla ad-hoc committee officially absolved the president of any wrongdoing in relation to the massive overspending.

Eleven of 12 public works officials accused of wrongdoing are facing disciplinary hearings for their alleged role in the scandal.

They have requested that media be barred from the hearings expected to get underway soon.

The Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA) says it wants the hearings to be held in private as their members are already highly stressed about the proceedings.

The Public Servant Association's Claude Naiker says his members just want these hearings to get underway.

"Our mandate is very very clear with these officials. We want the media barred and lets just get on with this."

But News24 lawyers Willem de Klerk says it's important for the media to be there.

"Presence of the media means that the public will know what evidence exactly is being led at these hearings."

The chair of this inquiry will hear arguments in this issue tomorrow.