R2K slams government challenge of Nkandla report

The Right2Know (R2K) campaign on Tuesday (20/05/2014) condemned a decision by the security cluster of ministers to challenge Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report on Nkandla in the high court.

"This move is the latest example of the use of state security structures to infringe on democratic processes and undermine accountability," the R2K said in a statement.

"South Africans need to take note of how easily expansive national security priorities are being distorted and can encroach on democratic principles; in the wrong hands, national security can and has been used as an excuse to stifle debate, undermine accountability, and protect the powerful from embarrassment."

The R2K wants the ministers to abandon their pending court action.

"Just as importantly, the president and his new ministers must reflect on the damage done to our democracy in the name of national security, and commit itself to a new mode of governance that is guided by the constitutional values of openness, participation and accountability."

Last week, government announced it wanted the public protector's report titled "Secure in Comfort" to be reviewed in the high court.

The ministers claim the report and Madonsela's investigation infringed the constitutional doctrine of a separation of powers.

In her report Madonsela found President Jacob Zuma and his family unduly benefited from a R246 million security upgrade to his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal, which included a swimming pool, a cattle kraal, and an amphitheatre.

She recommended, among other things, that he repay a portion of the money.

Zuma has said he will await the outcome of another probe by the Special Investigating Unit before responding to the matter.

The Democratic Alliance said it was consulting its lawyers with a view to joining the high court case as an intervening party.

The DA believed the judicial review was part of a greater plan to block the reappointment of an ad hoc committee to consider the matter.

The committee, which was set to consider Zuma's submissions on the Nkandla report, was effectively dissolved on April 28.

A report by the committee referring the matter to the fifth Parliament was adopted, following heated arguments between ANC MPs and their opposition counterparts. - Sapa