ANC tells Thuli Madonsela to shut up

2014-04-06 14:00

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ANC deputy secretary Jessie Duarte has challenged Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to “respect her office” by keeping quiet after issuing her reports.

Duarte said she was concerned that Madonsela appeared to go on a roadshow to promote her Nkandla report everywhere.

Madonsela released the Nkandla report two weeks ago and has since been criticised by various ANC leaders for the report’s content as well as her manner of releasing it.

Duarte said if Madonsela claimed her office was equivalent to that of a judge, she must behave like one, as judges limited themselves to releasing their judgments and leaving it at that.

Duarte said Madonsela’s behaviour was inappropriate and she appeared to be on some kind of campaign. “There is no need for her to be responding to every issue in the public domain. She must allow the public to air its views about her report without interference.

“She must also allow other processes to unfold after releasing her report.”

Madonsela has denied speaking about the content of the president’s response in public, saying her public addresses were scheduled long before the Nkandla report. Her office also insists judges do comment on their decisions.

The report found that President Jacob Zuma benefited from the capital investment in non-security installations at his private residence.

Duarte said if Madonsela is asked during public discussions about her report she should say: “I have provided the report and it is in the public domain. I have nothing further to add.”

The Public Protector’s spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, said: “The Public Protector does not have the same status as a judge in so far as her decisions are concerned.

As an ombudsman, the implementation of her decisions depends on moral suasion. However, as far as we know, it is not true that judges don’t comment on their own decisions. They clarify their decisions when asked.

“It must be noted the Public Protector has not commented on the content of the president’s response to her report. She has restricted herself only to clarifying her decisions and the status of those decisions.”

Segalwe said Madonsela and her predecessors had released the reports in the same way over many years and no one had complained – until now.

“It must also be noted that we had prescheduled speaking engagements ... after March 19 2014, the day on which she [Madonsela] released Secure in Comfort. On such occasions, people have asked questions about the content of her report and she has a duty to clarify where the need arises.”

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