'Madonsela must respond to criticism of Nkandla report'

Madonsela's office & opposition MPs believe she should be given a chance to respond to the ANC’s criticism.

FILE. Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's office has said Parliament should give her an opportunity to respond to criticism of her damning report on the security upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's private homestead in Nkandla.

Last week, African National Congress (ANC) Members of Parliament (MPs) sitting on the ad-hoc committee looking into the spending fiasco accused Madonsela of misleading the country with her report titled 'Secure in comfort'.

Madonsela found Zuma unduly benefited from the non-security features that formed part of the R246 million project to upgrade his home in rural KwaZulu-Natal.

These include a swimming pool, cattle kraal, visitor's centre and an amphitheatre.

Last week, the committee conducted an in-loco inspection of Zuma's estate and the barracks, built for security personnel right next door.

MPs across the political spectrum agreed the cost of the entire project was inflated and were shocked by evidence of shoddy workmanship.

The Public Protector's office said Parliament is free to operate as it deems fit, provided MPs carry out their inquiry with an open mind and take rational decisions.

Her office said to avoid a court challenge and the perception of a 'charade', Parliament must hear from the Public Protector and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

Opposition MPs said Madonsela should get a chance to respond to the ANC's criticism of her Nkandla report.

But ANC Deputy Chief Whip Doris Dlakude doesn't see the need.

She said, "She came to her own conclusion. As Parliament, we're doing our part, we'll come to our own conclusion. So I don't think it would be fair, even for the Public Protector, to question the work that we are doing."

The committee is expected to recall Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko this week to answer outstanding questions about the project to secure the president's home.

MPs also want to hear from Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi whose department was responsible for the project.