Madonsela hits back at minister’s ‘refusal’ to meet PP

2014-08-08 00:00

CAPE TOWN — It is war between Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi.

Madonsela yesterday sent a seething letter to the minister in which she accuses Muthambi of holding the office of the Public Protector (PP) in contempt and threatens the cabinet member with criminal prosecution.

This letter, of which sister paper Beeld has a copy, was yesterday served on Muthambi’s office with a summons to appear before the PP, after the minister allegedly refused to co-operate with the PP’s investigation of Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s appointment as COO at the SABC.

Madonsela told the media in Cape Town that holding the PP’s office in contempt was the same as contempt of the court and if the minister is found guilty she could face a year in jail, a fine of R40 000, or both.

In the letter, the PP refers to a letter which Muthambi sent to the PP on July 30, in which she allegedly refused to appear before the PP.

Madonsela warned Muthambi the tone of her refusal was contemptuous and pointed out the Public Protector Act stipulates no one may insult the PP.

Madonsela also warned Muthambi the Constitution states no one is above the law and the minister and her office did not outrank that of the PP, inviting the minister to air any concerns she may have when she met with the PP.

Muthambi’s alleged contempt of the PP comes a day after SABC chairperson Ellen Tshabalala criticised the PP for her Motsoeneng report. The PP was attacked in a similar way by several ANC politicians in the past year.

Madonsela said she had no other choice than to summons Muthambi after the minister had ignored and then simply refused several requests to meet with the PP.

Beeld learned Muthambi argued she did not have to appear before the PP as the matter was sub judice. The DA has applied for an urgent court order to ask for Motsoeneng’s immediate dismissal.

Muthambi texted Beeld to deny she had at any point refused to meet the PP. She had not seen the letter personally by late last night, she said.

She gave the assurance she would meet at a suitable time and co-operate with the PP as soon as she gets the summons.

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