Insulting Thuli Madonsela is unlawful – Numsa

2014-09-09 14:00

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Metalworkers union Numsa has added fuel to the fire raging over remarks that the Public Protector was a spy.

The union today told deputy defence and military veterans minister Kebby Maphatsoe that his comments that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was on the Central Intelligence Agency payroll were unlawful and could have him sent to prison.

Numsa – an affiliate of labour federation Cosatu – pulled no punches as it slammed Maphatsoe in a strongly worded statement, and also called on the ANC to “take appropriate action” against him.

“It is an offence to insult the Public Protector or deputy Public Protector. Any person convicted in terms of the Public Protector Act is liable to a fine not exceeding R40 000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months or to both such fine and such imprisonment,” said Numsa spokesperson Castro Ngobese today.

“Claims that the Public Protector is ‘a CIA plant’ or ‘her actions resemble those of a CIA agent’ are unlawful,” said Ngobese.

The union said it was not enough for the ANC to describe his remarks as “unfortunate” and called on the ruling party to take other action against him.

“The ANC needs to investigate Maphatsoe’s statement and take appropriate action. The organisation cannot just hypocritically wash its hands. It is the actions and statements of certain ANC and South African Communist Party leaders that have planted the seeds of hostility and hatred towards the Public Protector and her office,” said Numsa

Numsa is not the first organisation to lash out at Maphatsoe and the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association chairperson is becoming increasingly isolated.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe earlier distanced the government from his comments, which have angered the United States embassy.

The US embassy said it would lodge an official complaint with the South African government for what it regarded as “deeply offensive accusations”.

Maphatsoe’s accusations have also angered Madonsela, who has given Maphatsoe three days to either provide evidence to back his claim or retract the allegation altogether. Madonsela has threatened criminal and other action if Maphatsoe doesn’t retract it.

Read: Kebby Maphatsoe has 3 days to prove Thuli Madonsela is a spy or …

The ANC yesterday summoned Maphatsoe to a meeting to explain his remarks.

The deputy minister seemed to be backtracking at a press conference yesterday, saying he did not mean Madonsela was CIA a spy but that she “thinks she is God” and her actions “resemble those of a CIA spy”.

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