14 November 2013
Government has noted recent media reports pertaining to its decision to approach the courts to seek relief regarding its request for extension of the period within which to submit its response to the Public Protector’s provisional report on the security upgrades at the Nkandla residence of the President.
The Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Ministers decided to approach the court after the Public Protector did not grant the requested extension, which has always been regarded as reasonable.
The matter was then postponed by the court for final decision on the 15th of November 2013, the same day of the requested deadline. For this reason it was felt that such a decision will no longer serve any material purpose. Government therefore decided to approach the court to request that the matter be withdrawn. This decision was communicated to the Office of The Public Protector today, 14 November 2013.
The Ministers will then accordingly submit their response to the Public Protector tomorrow, 15 November 2013 as they have now had enough time to consider and prepare the response of government.
From the onset it needs to be noted that government’s application was never about the right of the Public Protector to release the provisional report of her investigation. The Ministers simply sought recourse regarding the unreasonably short period within which they were to consider a lengthy and important report.
The Ministers regard as unfortunate and disappointing, the manner in which the Public Protector responded to their request after months of interacting with her in good faith.
Government was to reiterate its position on the respect and recognition of the role of the Office of the Public Protector as provided for in our Constitution. The Ministers have, in this regard, cooperated fully with the current investigation including being available to attend all consultative meetings at the request of the Public Protector. All requested documents relevant to this investigation were submitted, inclusive of those with security classification.
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Issued by: Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)