Madonsela calls for clear separation between state, party

2016-05-05 20:00
(Mpho Raborife, News24)

(Mpho Raborife, News24)

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Pretoria – Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says a clear distinction should be made between activities and initiatives by government and those of the ruling party.

Speaking to reporters in Pretoria on Thursday, Madonsela said she had found the minister of social development in 2009, Edna Molewa, and employees from the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) had violated ethics as well as the Constitution when they allowed Sassa food parcels to be distributed by then-ANC Youth League president, Julius Malema, during a political event.

"Minister Molewa's request to have food parcels arranged for her for distribution during an event that was organised by the ANCYL... was a violation of the Constitution and therefore constitutes improper conduct," Madonsela said.

"The conduct of Sassa and its officials is not consistent with the Constitution which requires public services to be delivered impartially and fairly and accordingly constitutes maladministration, and ultimately, improper conduct," she said.

Blurred lines

Madonsela had released two reports titled State and Party Colours" and "State and Party, Blurred Lines". The reports followed investigations into conflation between the ruling party and the state during the 2011 elections as well as the irregular distribution of food parcels by the ANCYL in 2009 through Sassa.

This particular complaint had been brought forward by DA MP, Patricia Kopane.

Madonsela found Molewa had allowed Malema to distribute food parcels bought by Sassa during the event.

Investigations revealed the ANCYL had paid for the food parcels to be bought via the Sassa, but Madonsela found that allowing a leader of a political party who did not work for government to do so was an abuse of state resources and maladministration.

Improper involvement

"The involvement of the former minister of social development and the presence of Sassa officials during the event were improper," she said.

Madonsela acknowledged that the complaint was laid years ago and apologised for only completing it in 2016, citing various causes of delays that had plagued her office including resignations by investigators midway through cases.

Her recommendations on remedial action on alleged conflation of party and state was that the department of social development as well as Sassa develop a policy, which would be circulated across all government institutions, that clearly set out the separation between state and party activities.

She also recommended that no government platform or state functionary be allowed to use its position, power or any public resources under its control to market political party matters.

Read more on:    public protector  |  sassa  |  anc  |  julius malema  |  thuli madonsela  |  pretoria

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