URBAN LEGEND MAKES IT INTO NEWSPAPER COLUMNS
The Presidency has noted that an urban legend related to the Public Protector reports on the police buildings lease agreements has crept into official editorial commentary and columns of some media products.
The urban legend doing the rounds states that President Jacob Zuma relieved Mr Geoff Doidge of his duties as Public Works Minister in October last year and appointed Ms Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde in his place for the sole purpose of getting her to approve the leases, which Mr Doidge had apparently dodged to do.
This is all based on a rumour that Mr Roux Shabangu, owner of the buildings, is supposedly a friend of the President. The rumours are without foundation and it is disappointing that some newsrooms have published or broadcast the rumours as fact, without even checking with the Presidency.
The President barely knows Mr Shabangu and any statement to the contrary is false.
There is also no link between the release of Mr Doidge and the appointment of Ms Mahlangu-Nkabinde to the public works portfolio.
We have also noted the lamentations by commentators that it is taking too long to respond to the Public Protector reports. Things are done procedurally in government and decisions that are taken must be informed by facts, after following due process. Government does not act without interrogating information placed before it.
President Zuma has been engaging the Minister of Police, Mr Nathi Mthethwa and Minister Mahlangu-Nkabinde as there is information that is required from them in response to the reports.
Once the process is concluded, he will submit his report to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Honourable Max Sisulu, as is protocol in terms of government relations with Chapter 9 Institutions.
Statement issued by Mac Maharaj, Special Envoy and Spokesperson to the President, August 2 2011
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