Thuli’s deputy fights back

2013-05-12 14:02

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‘I was deployed by every party in Parliament. I’m a professional’

He is the man at the centre of a public spat with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela this week.

In an interview with City Press, Advocate Kevin Malunga, Madonsela’s deputy, defended his letter to Parliament, distancing himself from comments made by his boss.

The letter sparked speculation over whether Malunga was a deployed cadre, appointed to undermine Madonsela’s fierce independent approach.

Why did you write to Parliament?

There’s nothing untoward about me writing to Parliament. It’s very clear that these (chapter 9) institutions (like the Public Protector) are accountable.

They are not the fourth arms of the state.

Our game is happening in the legislature.

I did not agree with some of the statements (made by Advocate Madonsela) and I said I disrespectfully disagree. I think that’s a healthy sort of democratic ideal.

The irony is that (no journalist) is indicating that I asserted our independence in the letter too. All the focus is on the disagreement.

Do you think you’ll be able to continue working with Madonsela?

We spoke after (the letter) and we are there to do the work.

I’m a professional. I think there’s a retarded perception that I’m trying to undermine the institution.

In fact, we’re fighting maladministration and impropriety, in line with our constitutional mandate?.?.?.?Those are things we enjoy doing.

Are you a deployed cadre?

I got a unanimous vote in Parliament. How is that deployment?

I was deployed by the SA Communist Party, DA, Cope.

All of them deployed me. I was deployed by every single party.

When the DA went to court over the appointment of Advocate Menzi Simelane as national director of public prosecution, you said that the DA was wasting the court’s time with pointless cases.

The DA won ultimately. In my interview (in Parliament), Dene Smuts (DA MP) gave me a thorough roasting about that.

In hindsight, I did acknowledge that we can’t be truly prescriptive of what courts can and cannot do.

If it was me, I would avoid politics in court.

I said that in my interview.

Do you still hold the view that a tribunal would not be able to resolve the complaint by Constitutional Court judges against Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe?

I always thought a cross-examination was going to be hard because at the time, the complainants weren’t sure whether they wanted to complain.

My view at the time was different from the norm because everyone was going for this guy (Hlophe) and I thought he also deserved a fair, due process.

There is a perception that you often come down on the side of government. Is that correct?

The question is, which side am I supposed to come down on? Everyone has a democratic right to a view, right or wrong.

Have you ever been a member of a political party?

I’ve voted like everybody else, but your vote is your secret.

So you’re not a card-carrying member of a political party?

I’ve been approached by people with forms of many parties. Here now, in 2013, I am apolitical. I do not have a friend in a political party. I will not attend any function to do with a political party.

So you’ve never been a member of a political party?

I don’t know actually, because I’ve been approached. I’ve voted and you know?.?.?.?we vote?.?.?.?I’m not in politics. I’m not active in politics.

»?On Friday, after receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Fort Hare, Madonsela told City Press she was surprised by the spat with her new deputy.

“Right until the night before we went to Parliament, we were sitting with my deputy (Malunga) and the rest of my team, strategising.

“I think it was unfortunate when he felt a different view.

In teams, people do this and that, but it does not mean the end of the team,” she said.

Madonsela said after Malunga had written to Parliament, she sat down with him and tried to work things out.

She said she was thankful the differences between her and the deputy Public Protector were revealed early in his term.

“I hope we are going to work well from now on.

“In fact, I am glad that this happened now because it allows us to set the boundaries around the need for him to understand that he has the freedom to express his views in the team.

“There’s no need for the public spat,” she said, adding she had been taken aback when Malunga went public with the matter.

Letter for the attention of Hon LT Landers

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