Stop the Nkandla mudslinging, Thuli Madonsela tells ANC

2014-08-28 17:51

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has made an impassioned plea to the ANC to stop the name calling and rein in officials who are making “unwarranted” attacks on the integrity of her office.

Addressing the media in Pretoria today, following a week of public mudslinging that has seen the ANC and it’s allies accusing Madonsela of targeting President Jacob Zuma, the Public Protector said she has requested a meeting with Zuma to discuss the current impasse.

This follows newspaper reports about the letter Madonsela wrote to Zuma in which she questioned Zuma’s actions for instructing police minister Nathi Nhleko to investigate whether he, Zuma, was liable to reimburse the state for part of the controversial R246 million spent by the state in Zuma’s private residence in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.

Madonsela had harsh words for those outside government and singled out the ANC for “interfering” in her work in the name of democracy.

She reminded ANC members that she grew up in the ANC and there was no reason for the party to question her motives after the ruling party accused her of targeting Zuma.

“I was in the ANC. I served in the ANC and took up arms against the struggle. I’m not pleased by these people who are even too young to have been in the struggle. When there were no benefits for being in the struggle, we were there.

“The ANC is a big party and there are people in the ANC who support me everyday. I appeal to the leaders to rein in these people that seem to have no respect for fellow human beings,” said Madonsela, who also served in the now-defunct United Democratic Front in the 1980s.

She said she will not reveal the name of a senior ANC politician who leaked the letter to the media.

“In my view, the hysteria that has followed not only compounds the problem but it is also symptomatic of more underlying problems, particularly regarding issues of trust, common decency and rational discourse,” said Madonsela, adding that those who were attacking her were acting like “hooligans”.

She reminded the ANC about what it had said in its own report when it called for the establishment of the Public Protector’s office which the ruling part had now started attacking.

Madonsela said she was always guided by the Constitution when discharging her duties and no one could question her investigations unless they went to court.

“Both the leaking and publishing were improper as there was no public interest in such an act. If anything, the actions have had the opposite of public interest by adding to a climate of mistrust and unhealthy communication,” said Madonsela.

She said she and Zuma had always had “positive” engagements in the past five years and called for the interference in state institutions to stop.

“Had the letter not been leaked or commented on by actors external to the state, the President would have gracefully considered my letter as he has always done and responded in a manner deemed appropriate,” said Madonsela.

She said accusations that she overstepped her constitutional mandate were misplaced because if she had not sent the letter to Zuma that would have amounted to a contravention of the Constitution and her duties.

She said Zuma’s office had already acknowledged receiving her letter and that Zuma was applying his mind to it.

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