The press conference called by the Secretary General of the ANC, Gwede Mantashe, today is nothing more than shameless spin by the ANC in an attempt to protect President Zuma from being held accountable.
It is clear that the ANC, like the ANCYL and the SACP before it, are actively engaged in a bid to de-legitimise the Public Protector’s investigation and report by latching onto the fact that the provisional report was leaked to the Mail and Guardian.
Indeed, it is highly problematic that the ANC has made an allegation that the Public Protector’s Office leaked the report, without sufficient evidence to support this. In fact, Jesse Duarte’s contribution to the press conference that the Public Protector has herself admitted to it is bizarre and it is not reflected in any communication by her office to the media.
Unless the ANC has evidence to the contrary, which should then be made known, Mr Mantashe should urgently issue an apology to the Public Protector’s Office. Indeed, it is key that the independence and authority of this important Chapter Nine institution is acknowledged and maintained.
But for the ANC this isn’t about who leaked the report. It is about doing everything possible to bring into question the findings of the report before they are made public.
This tactic will simply not work because South Africans want to know the truth about Nkandla. They are rightly angry that over R200 million of hard-earned public money was spent on one man’s private residence – without so much as a single question being asked by Mr Zuma.
We welcome the fact that the ANC now finally supports the DA’s call for the Public Protector’s Nkandla Report to be made public – after over a year of ignoring this issue and standing by while the the Security Cluster Ministers attempted unlawfully to interfere with the Adv. Madonsela’s investigations.
In addition, Mr Mantashe’s silence thoughout the debacle surrounding the so-called “Top Secret” Public Works Task Team Report into Nkandlagate also speaks volumes about the ANC’s newly-found zeal for transparency.
If the ANC were serious about tackling this corruption, Mr Mantashe would have the courage to speak up when it matters. He would also spend less time attacking the integrity of one of our Chapter Nine Institutions and more time asking the President the hard questions about his involvement in this scandal.