Complaints rock Protector’s office

2012-08-18 18:15

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has asked Parliament to investigate “ongoing anonymous” complaints against her from her own colleagues.

The complaints, Madonsela says, are “destabilising” her ­office.

Madonsela’s deputy, Mameki Shai, who is also the head of the office’s good governance and integrity committee, was asked by Madonsela in March to submit a report to Parliament “analysing and classifying” the complaints, together with a report compiled by an office task team.

The reports were sent to ­national assembly speaker Max Sisulu last month.

A parliamentary official, who did not want to be named, confirmed that Sisulu’s office had seen the report.

However, the official said the “veracity” of the claims had to be established before Parliament set up a committee to investigate.

He couldn’t say when this would happen.

The complaints started in ­January in an anonymous letter to Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts.

This ­erroneously landed in a priest’s mailbox, who then forwarded it to Madonsela.

Madonsela asked an internal task team to investigate, and also “informally” told Sisulu’s office about the complaint, she said.

The Public Protector is appointed by Parliament, and could also be sacked by the institution if it finds she was incompetent, incapable or guilty of misconduct.

There have recently been rumblings by Madonsela’s staff about bias towards the DA after she ­watered down a report on a media tender issued by the Western Cape government, and after she decided to address a DA Women’s Day rally last week.

ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga issued two press releases within a week condemning her ­attendance of the meeting, but said there was no intention to fire her for this.

Three MPs said despite Motshekga’s pronouncements, the ­issue wasn’t discussed at the party’s caucus meeting on Thursday.

One MP, however, said she should resign.

“We all feel that she has a political agenda,” he said.

Other MPs, however, said Motshekga was exaggerating.

Madonsela said she would in ­future “solicit the views of other stakeholders”, including Parliament, “on how to deal with similar requests”.

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