Law Society slams Parliament’s ‘inappropriate questioning’ of Thuli Madonsela

2013-05-16 13:14

The Law Society of SA is worried about Parliament’s “inappropriate questioning” of public protector Thuli Madonsela.

In a press release issued yesterday, the Law Society of SA (LSSA), which governs and regulates the legal profession, said that it was concerned by the “tone of the questioning of the office of the Public Protector by members of the portfolio committee on justice and constitutional development”.

The co-chairpersons of the LSSA, Kathleen Matolo-Dlepu and David Bekker, said in the statement that South Africa “is a constitutional democracy and not a parliamentary democracy”.

“We are of the view that the recent line of questioning by portfolio committee members requesting the Public Protector to explain why she has investigated specific cases is wholly inappropriate.

“Parliamentary oversight is limited to how the office of the Public Protector uses public moneys and to protecting and rendering assistance to the Public Protector in dealing with complaints,” they said.

The statement comes after Madonsela two weeks ago clashed with ANC MP John Jeffery during a presentation of the public protector’s three-year plan to the portfolio committee.

Jeffery asked whether an investigation into the conflict between the former national consumer commissioner and the trade and industry department was an efficient use of resources.

Read: Power and the Public Protector by John Jeffery

Madonsela responded by saying: “I stand firmly that I think it’s improper for this committee or for any member of this committee to just say: “Oh, you should not have investigated that one, especially going for specific cases.”

The matter has since been exacerbated by Madonsela’s deputy, Kevin Malunga, writing a letter to Parliament in which he apologised for the spat and distanced himself from Madonsela’s comments.

Read: Thuli’s deputy fights back

The LSSA was also dismissive of Malunga’s letter, saying it “can only be described as an attempt to ingratiate himself with those who may appoint the next Public Protector. This does not augur well for the future.”

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