16 March 2014

South Africa: Zuma Vs. Madonsela - Constitutional Crisis Looms Over Nkandla Investigation

Photo: G Stolley/Sapa
President Jacob Zuma's residence in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.


A constitutional crisis could be imminent over the powers of the Public Protector as she faces increasing political heat over her investigation into the upgrades at President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla residence.

Daily Maverick has learnt that Zuma has written to Thuli Madonsela questioning whether she has the powers to investigate him at all. This could lead to a legal showdown between Zuma and Madonsela about the relationship between their offices.

For now, any findings or recommendations Madonsela makes in her Nkandla investigation report pertaining to the president could be disregarded by Zuma if he believes the Public Protector has no authority to investigate him. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela could see a problem coming long ago. In October, she questioned government's delay in changing the law determining her reporting line when she deals with investigations dealing with the presidency.

She said then that she had advised government about the problem three years ago and had asked for the law to be changed to clarify how she should deal with reports when these concern the presidency.

Normally, when the Public Protector investigates members of the executive, reports are handed to the president, who can then take action based on ...

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