25 March 2023 | 01:41 PM

Advocacy: Nxesi ignored 30-day deadline to respond to Promotion of Access to Information Act appeal for Nkandla info.

Nxesi ignored 30-day deadline to respond to Promotion of Access to Information Act appeal for Nkandla info.

Key Takeaways

The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane) is taking Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi to the High Court in an attempt to force him to disclose the details of public spending at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla estate. The centre filed a request under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia) in July for details of the “procurement by the state of goods or services to improve, upgrade, alter, add to or secure the Nkandla estate of the president”.

Though the request made it clear only information relating to the “financial implications” and not “the technical detail of security-sensitive improvements” was sought, public works director-general Mandisa Fatyela-Lindie turned it down on the basis the estate was a “national key point” and the information classified. The centre appealed to Nxesi in September, pointing out that the response did not comply with Paia. But Nxesi has failed to respond, despite the Act specifying a 30-day limit. The centre filed an application in the North Gauteng High Court in November, appealing Nxesi’s “deemed refusal” of the information. Both parties have now filed affidavits in court.

  • Follow the blow-by-blow court process here

Centre joint managing partner Stefaans Brümmer said the court application was brought in the public interest. “This is to get to the bottom of how massive amounts of public money got to be spent at Nkandla. It is also to challenge the minister and his department’s blatant disregard for Paia, a constitutionally-mandated Act of parliament.” Attorneys Webber Wentzel are acting for the centre.

  • This article was updated on March 8 2013, to reflect that, since November 2012, both parties have filed papers in court.

The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit initiative to develop investigative journalism in the public interest, produced this story. All views are ours. See www.amabhungane.co.za for all our stories, activities and sources of funding.

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Aisha Abdool Karim

Aisha is a freelance science and health reporter. She is joining the amaB team to work on a project about water and sanitation. Aisha’s passion for long-form narrative and investigative journalism was sparked while doing her master’s degree at Columbia University in New York. After graduating in 2018, she returned to South Africa and began working as a general beat reporter for the Daily Maverick. Aisha joined the Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism in 2020 to focus on science reporting. During her time there, she covered the COVID-19 pandemic extensively — from fact-checking harmful medical misinformation to unpacking the science behind vaccine development. Aisha’s special interests include analysing health systems and in-depth coverage of public health issues and infectious diseases. She also loves spreadsheets and digging through data.

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