Deputy defence minister deserted ANC camp

2014-09-14 10:05
Kebby Maphatsoe (File, Sapa)

Kebby Maphatsoe (File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Deputy Defence and Military Veterans Minister Kebby Maphatsoe, who accused Public Protector Thuli Madonsela of being a CIA spy, has admitted he deserted an ANC military camp during the struggle days, reports the Sunday Times.

According to the newspaper, Maphatsoe defended his actions, stating that he had run away from the Uganda camp due to unbearable conditions. He said he left because of excessive punishment, poor conditions, and inadequate food.

'I am not a sell-out'

“My escape was for good intention. I am not a sell-out,” he said adding that he had wanted to report the matter to senior ANC leaders in South Africa.

However, when asked how he lost his arm, he reportedly said it was during the escape - when Ugandan soldiers shot him.

Previously there have been two different versions. In one version, he said it was following a car accident and in another, he said a hand grenade had exploded while he had been holding it.

But the Sunday Times investigation found he had instead been shot while deserting Ngoma camp. After being shot, he spent time in a hospital before being expelled from the camp.

Madonsela apology

However, Maphatsoe refused to comment on the issue of him calling Madonsela a CIA agent. He said the matter was “sub judice” as she was considering his letter of apology, reported the Sunday Times.

According to a report last week, the deputy defence minister had accused Madonsela of being a spy, insinuating she worked for the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Madonsela's office on Monday gave Maphatsoe three days to back his allegations, or issue an apology and retraction. Maphatsoe apologised on Tuesday.

"I made statements in my capacity as the national chairperson on behalf of MKMVA (Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans' Association) about the Public Protector," Maphatsoe said in a statement.

"After consultation with my organisation, the African National Congress, it would seem as though my statements have been misunderstood and misinterpreted.

"I therefore withdraw those statements and apologise for any offences and hurt that would have been caused."

Madonsela was asked whether she feared for her life or that of her family after increasing attacks on her character and actions.

"No, not really. Nobody has seriously, directly threatened me. My family has raised concerns though over being called a traitor, being called a foreign agent," she said.

Hate speech

A member of her team had raised the question that being called a spy was hate speech and incitement to harm.

"When you call somebody a foreign agent, you are inviting others to consider this person an enemy of the people of South Africa.

"And some of them might then assume that that call extends to them defending the country against this foreign agent. And it was the reason we then requested that this should be withdrawn."

Madonsela said on Thursday that she was evaluating the apology.

"Regarding the spy allegations, we have noted the media release by the deputy minister and my team has been helping me [with] evaluating the response," she said in Cape Town.

"I have that draft evaluation... Once we have done that evaluation process, we will determine what my next move is going to be."

Read more on:    mk  |  anc  |  kebby maphatsoe  |  thuli madonsela  |  military  |  politics

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