South African Ministers Drop Bid to Delay Zuma Home Probe Report

South African ministers dropped a bid to delay the release of a report into the use of public funds to renovate President Jacob Zuma’s private home, a spokesman for Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said.

The ministers were scheduled to appear in a high court tomorrow to ask for more time to study Madonsela’s provisional report into the use of at least 206 million rand ($20 million) on upgrading Zuma’s home in Nkandla, 430 kilometers (270 miles) southeast of Pretoria, the capital.

“We are aware that the state has withdrawn the court action to stop the release of the provisional report,” Oupa Segalwe, a spokesman for the Public Protector, the anti-graft ombudsman, said today by phone from Pretoria.

In an affidavit filed Nov. 12, Madonsela accused ministers of attempting to block her investigation.

“There were attempts by the minister of police, and thereafter collectively by the ministers of police, public works and state security (with the assistance of the acting state attorney and the chief state law adviser) to stop the investigation,” Madonsela said in the affidavit.

The Ministry of Public Works detailed the cost of the renovations in January, saying 135 million rand was spent on “operational needs,” 71 million rand on security features such as fencing and consultants, and about 27 million rand for changes to the project.

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