Madonsela spy saga: Maphatsoe’s claims enrage US diplomats

2014-09-08 13:39

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United States ambassador Patrick Gaspard said he would be launching a formal complaint against a South African deputy minister who alleged that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela worked for the Central Intelligence Agency.

Defence and Military Veterans Deputy Minister Kebby Maphatsoe this morning repeated the allegations he made at a public event over the weekend that Madonsela was on the CIA’s payroll.

Gaspard tweeted this morning: “We categorically reject the baseless and offensive accusations from the [deputy minister] and will lodge [a] complaint through [diplomatic] channels.”

It is understood that US diplomats are livid about Maphatsoe’s statement.

Gaspard said Americans were partnering with South Africa to fight HIV/Aids.

“We’re proud of our transparent partnership with SA on health, [economic development], peace and security. These are the issues that matter,” he tweeted.

“How can a [government] minister make such scurrilous and political comments at an official event?”

According to The Star newspaper, Maphatsoe said at the unveiling of a tombstone for Umkhonto weSizwe combatant Linda “Lion of Chiawelo” Jabane in Soweto on Saturday that Madonsela should reveal who her “handler” was.

“They are even using our institution now ... These Chapter 9 institutions were created by the ANC but are now being used against us, and if you ask why, it is the Central Intelligence Agency. Ama [the] Americans want their own chief executive in South Africa and we must not allow that,” said Maphatsoe.

At a press conference this morning, Maphatsoe stepped down slightly from his statements on Saturday, saying Madonsela’s actions convinced him she was a spy.

He also said she was doing damage to the country’s institutions and that she wasn’t a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe, as had been claimed.

Maphatsoe attacked Madonsela because he believed her findings that President Jacob Zuma had to repay money for the security upgrades to his Nkandla homestead were wrong, because Zuma didn’t request them.

Madonsela said she would take legal action against Maphatsoe and ask him to retract and apologise or provide proof that she was an agent.

Department of International Relations spokesperson Clayson Monyela said they had not received Gaspard’s complaint yet but would deal with it through diplomatic channels when it arrived.

The ANC said: "We reaffirm our support and confidence in the institutions established to promote and safeguard our democracy, notably the Office of the Public Protector.

"It is our unwavering belief that those who lead these important institutions should be able to conduct their work unhindered and without any fear or favour."

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