No campaign against protector, says public works minister

2011-07-08 14:24

The Department of Public Works did not have a “campaign” against Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde said today.

“I don’t know how I am supposed to know that really,” she said when asked if there was a campaign against Madonsela who, according to a report in The Star newspaper, was on the verge of arrest for fraud and corruption.

“One thing for certain is that there is no campaign from public works,” said Mahlangu-Nkabinde.
The report came in the lead up to the release of a second report on the police and public works’ lease contracts with businessman Roux Shabangu.

Her last report was critical of Mahlangu-Nkabinde and police commissioner General Bheki Cele in relation to a multimillion-rand lease for a building in the Pretoria CBD.

Mahlangu-Nkabinde said: “Just like the Public Protector, we are uncomfortable that she was working on a report and the report was leaked to the media.

“We think that for now, let her be given space. All citizens should support the public protector’s office.”

A report on a lease relating to a building in Durban is expected to be released publicly on July 14.

The Star report claimed that police were investigating payments of R1.8 million to Madonsela while she worked for the SA Law Reform Commission.

It published a document purporting to be evidence of the investigation by the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation within the police.

The minister of police and Cele have denied knowledge of such an investigation, and Madonsela has said that she has not been informed that she is about to be arrested.

She called the allegation of fraud and corruption “malicious” and “baseless”.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said yesterday that he did not request any police investigation into Madonsela and he was satisfied that she had not acted unlawfully when a company owned by her was paid by the commission for work done.

Madonsela indicated at a press conference on Wednesday that there had been a disagreement over whether her salary at the commission could be paid directly into her company account for tax purposes.

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