Madonsela accused of protecting friend

2012-07-01 17:45
Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Beeld

Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Beeld (Beeld)

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Johannesburg - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is under fire from Independent Electoral Commission staff and the United Democratic Movement.

She’s been accused of selectively tackling alleged corruption and maladministration involving her friend, electoral commission chairperson Pansy Tlakula.

Concerned commission employees have written to Themba Godi, the chairperson of Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts, and the commission’s deputy head Terry Tselane, asking them to inves­tigate a multimillion-rand lease involving Tlakula’s business partner.

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa has lodged complaints against the commission with Madonsela – but he is unhappy with her progress. His complaint relates to the commission’s R320m office lease, in which Parliament’s finance portfolio committee chairperson Thaba Mufamadi’s company, Manaka Property Investment, has a stake.

In April, City Press revealed that Tlakula and Mufamadi are fellow directors in three companies.

Mufamadi co-owns Manaka Property Investment with Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale.

Commission employees say there’s no progress because the probe involves powerful and high-profile ANC members.

“It is clear that Madonsela is very reluctant to probe and embarrass her own personal friend [Tlakula],” reads the memorandum to Godi.

Forensic probe

“She [Madonsela] seems prepared to rather compromise her own institution, work and image it has built over the years to protect a friend,” it continues.

Employees are demanding a forensic probe into the electoral commission’s finances.

“This proves beyond reasonable doubt that the venerated public protector selectively tackles corruption and maladministration in government,” said Holomisa.

Godi confirmed receipt of the memorandum and said Scopa would look into the allegations.

Tselane did not respond to City Press enquiries.

Deputy chief electoral officer Norman du Plessis confirmed the commission was aware of the letter and would “in due course” announce its approach.

“Tlakula, for her part, points out that the commission acquired its present accommodation through a public tender,” said Du Plessis.

“It would be in the best interest of all parties and the public that the report or hearing regarding the complaint be expedited,” he said.

The commission has asked all its staff members to cooperate fully with the public protector’s investigation, Du Plessis said.

He said Tlakula denied any impropriety on her part or conflict of interest and had provided full details and supporting documentation as requested by Madonsela.

“She feels that until the matter has been formally investigated . . . it would not be appropriate to respond further to what she regards as malicious allegations.”

Madonsela’s office did not respond to enquiries by City Press.

Read more on:    udm  |  iec  |  bantu holomisa  |  pansy tlakula  |  thuli madonsela  |  themba godi  |  cassel mathale  |  thaba mufamadi
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