Nkandla probe on
Cape Town - Constitutional law expert Professor Pierre de Vos’s application for an investigation into alleged breaches by President Jacob Zuma of the Executive Members’ Ethics Code regarding building work at his Nkandla residence has been included in the Public Protector’s main probe.
De Vos said he had been informed on Wednesday his application would be treated “as part of the broader Nkandla investigation”.
He applied for the probe last year, asking Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to investigate whether Zuma misled Parliament and thus breached the Executive Members’ Ethics Code when he said in the National Assembly he had taken a bond to pay for expansions at his Nkandla home.
The Public Protector, auditor-general and Public Works Department are also investigating various aspects of the reported R250 million spending on security upgrades at Nkandla, including an underground bunker, helipad and custom-made bulletproof windows, paid for by the state.
Asked whether he had received any information regarding the status of his application for the investigation, De Vos told Independent Newspapers in an SMS: “Not a word, despite two follow-up e-mails.”
However, he later received an e-mail informing him of the merging of the investigations.
Public Protector spokesman Oupa Segalwe said the investigation was still under way and “there is no report at this point in time… we have informed the complainant accordingly”.
Segalwe said the Public Protector’s office was unable to “put our heads on the block and give a specific time” when the probe would be completed.
There had been requests from various people regarding the Nkandla matter and the applications had been added to one investigation instead of treating them separately, said Segalwe.
De Vos said although the communication from the Public Protector had been poor, “it makes sense to treat this as part of the case”.
Meanwhile, a report by an internal task team asked by Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi to probe whether prices were inflated for construction on Nkandla has been handed to the minister.
Public Works spokesman Sabelo Mali said the report was in Nxesi’s possession and he was “engaging it”.
Mali was also unable to say when it would be made public.
The task team was set up in November and included professionals with legal, financial management control, auditing, security, physical protection and construction and maintenance expertise, according to Nxesi.