An IT staff member marked the Special Investigating Unit’s report on Nkandla “completed” because he had misinterpreted an e-mail, the unit said on Thursday.
“The SIU is deeply embarrassed by the earlier error on the website,” spokesman Boy Ndala said in a statement. “The head of the unit only became aware of the error and rectification late yesterday [Wednesday] evening.”
Parliament confirmed on Wednesday it had received comments from President Jacob Zuma on the public protector’s report into security upgrades at his private home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.
In a statement announcing public protector Thuli Madonsela’s deadline had been met, the presidency said Zuma had noted in his response that three state agencies or institutions — the public protector, the justice, crime prevention and security cluster of cabinet, and the SIU — had all probed the Nkandla upgrades.
Zuma said he would give full and proper consideration to all the matters before him and, upon receipt of the SIU report, provide parliament with a further report on the decisive executive interventions he considered appropriate.
Ndala told Sapa on Wednesday his unit’s investigation was still ongoing and would be completed at the end of next month. He said the status of the report, shown on the SIU’s website as “completed”, was not correct.
On Wednesday evening, the SIU changed the status to “ongoing”.
Ndala said on Thursday the SIU conducted an internal investigation into the erroneous entry on its website.
In February, he asked one of his staff members in the communication department to update the website.
On 13 March, Ndala said he told the staff member that the report was not reflected on the site. That same day the IT department was asked to update it.
On 26 March, Ndala said he again asked for it to be updated. The website was then changed and marked as completed.
“The person from IT who effected the entry … has said … he decided to mark the investigation as completed because he interpreted the e-mail from communications as saying that the investigation had started in January 2008 and had been finalised in December 2013,” Ndala said.
The website was changed on Wednesday on Ndala’s instruction.
“The SIU and the head deeply regret what has transpired. We accept that the SIU should not be making such errors and apologise unreservedly,” he said. — Sapa