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Cabinet delays police deal explanation

Mar 17 2011 14:11 Sapa

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Cape Town - Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde will not have to explain her decision to seal the lease of the police's new headquarters before Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has also completed a probe into plans to rent Durban offices, the cabinet said on Thursday.

The decision was taken at a meeting between Madonsela, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe and the secretary of cabinet, according to a statement following the cabinet's fortnightly meeting.

Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane declined to give reasons for Mahlangu-Nkabinde's reprieve, saying the media should respect the fact that Madonsela had agreed to delay the matter.

In a scathing report on the R500m lease for new offices in Pretoria released late last month, she recommended that the cabinet at its next meeting demand an explanation from Mahlangu-Nkabinde about signing off on the deal despite legal advice to the contrary.

Said Chabane: "What would have been considered to have been a 10-day deadline will have to take into account the agreement that has been reached with regard to the completion of the work with regard to the KZN report.

"So that definitely affected that because then you have to wait for that to have been dealt with. What happens with the contents of the report will then be dealt with in the context of the agreement which is there with the public protector and justice."

Madonsela in her report said the department of public works' decision to push ahead with the deal amounted to maladministration.

She called for Treasury to determine steps to terminate the lease, and also took aim at National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele for signing the memorandum authorising funding for the deal.

Madonsela had said she hoped that the Durban probe would shed more light onto relations between the police and property mogul Roux Shabangu, as many people involved in the Pretoria deal were also involved in the Durban one.

She planned to conclude the Durban investigation this month.
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