Govt: Maphatsoe speaking in personal capacity

2014-09-09 13:24
Kebby Maphatsoe (File, Sapa)

Kebby Maphatsoe (File, Sapa)

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Madonsela CIA accusations dominate newspaper front pages

2014-09-09 10:15

Today's newspaper front pages are dominated with the news of Thuli Madonsela being branded a CIA operative by Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Kebby Maphatso. Watch.WATCH

Johannesburg - Defence Deputy Minister Kebby Maphatsoe was speaking in his personal capacity when he claimed that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela works for the CIA, the government said on Tuesday.

"We released a statement saying [what he said] is not a government position. He was speaking in his personal capacity," spokesperson Phumla Williams said when asked whether Maphatsoe could face disciplinary action.

"We are not in a position to comment [on the question]. It is a matter for the executive."
In the statement, the government distanced itself from Maphatsoe's comments.

"Government distances itself from such accusations as they were never discussed at any official government meeting nor do they reflect the views and thinking of government," said Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe.

"Comments or allegations against any country or persons, including those responsible for guarding and upholding constitutional values, should be raised and addressed at appropriate platforms. South Africa enjoys a cordial diplomatic relationship with the United States of America."

Madonsela a ‘CIA plant’

Radebe, who is also the chairperson of the inter-ministerial committee on information and publicity, said the government reiterated its trust in Chapter Nine institutions, like the office of the public protector.

It was reported on Monday that Maphatsoe, who chairs the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans' Association (MKMVA), had accused Madonsela of being a CIA plant.

"We can't allow people to hijack the ANC. We'll fight and defend the African National Congress. uThuliumele asitshele ukuthi ubani ihandler yakhe [Thuli must tell us who her handler is]," Maphatsoe reportedly said in Soweto on Saturday.

"They are even using our institution now.... These Chapter Nine 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 CEO in South Africa and we must not allow that," Maphatsoe reportedly said.

However, at a press briefing later on Monday the MKMVA denied the statement, but conceded that a reference to the CIA had been made.

"He did make reference to the possibility of a CIA machination in an attempt to destabilise the country," Maphatsoe's special adviser Ike Moroe told reporters in Johannesburg.

Three days to prove claim

US Embassy spokesperson Jack Hillmeyer confirmed on Monday that the country's ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard would lodge an official diplomatic complaint about the allegations.

Madonsela has given Maphatsoe three days to prove his claim.

"She also expects Mr Maphatsoe to issue a retraction and public apology within the said period, failing which she will be left with no choice but to invoke the contempt of the Public Protector powers in terms of sections nine and 11 of the Public Protector Act 23 of 1994," her spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said.

According to the act, it is a crime to insult the public protector.

Christian Democratic Party leader Rev Theunis Botha said the ANC had to stop criticising Madonsela.

"In fact, many ministers and other office bearers can take a leaf from Madonsela’s book as to how they should perform their duties with integrity," he said.

Madonsela has come under attack from the ANC and some alliance structures ever since sending a letter to President Jacob Zuma last month asking him for details of when he would respond to recommendations in her report on the upgrades at his home at Nkandla, in KwaZulu-Natal.

Read more on:    mkmva  |  jeff radebe  |  kebby maphatsoe  |  thuli madonsela  |  nkandla upgrade

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