Shiceka, Madonsela in row over probe

2011-09-15 22:28

Cape Town - A bitter public spat erupted between Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and Co-operative Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka on Thursday over delays in her investigation into his alleged abuse of state funds.

Madonsela rejected the minister's repeated complaints that she was dragging her feet on the probe and that this prevented him from returning to work from sick leave.

Instead, she said, Shiceka's evasiveness and notably his refusal to be interviewed had delayed the investigation, prompting her to call on President Jacob Zuma to intervene.

Shiceka countered that he had co-operated fully and accused Madonsela not only of exceeding her brief, but of behaving unethically by discussing the matter with the media.

He said: "It is regrettable that the office of the public protector has acted in an unethical and unprofessional manner by communicating official information shared with her office and the minister to the media.

"This is viewed as a breach of confidentiality in handling matters of this nature and disconcerting as it is becoming a trend."

Shiceka fired the first shot in the row.

He told Eyewitness News on Wednesday that he was well, but could not return to his post until Madonsela had presented her findings.

It was the second time in two months that he had said the same thing.

The presidency then confirmed that Zuma would not decide the minister's fate until Madonsela had completed her work, arguing it would create an "untenable situation".

Medical practitioner

Madonsela said on Thursday that her preliminary report would go to Zuma and Shiceka next week.

She laid the blame for delays at Shiceka's door and spoke of her difficulty in obtaining information from the minister, who had been on sick leave since February and allegedly misused around R1m in state funds.

Madonsela said he took six weeks to respond to her initial request for information and when she asked for an interview with him in August, he replied he "was not in a position to meet her until he was declared medically fit to resume duties by a registered medical practitioner.

"This is despite information provided to the public protector... by witnesses who gave an impression that Mr Shiceka's health had apparently improved," Madonsela said.

She then told Zuma of the "challenges that she was facing in concluding her report, particularly the unavailability of the minister".

The Sowetan quoted Shiceka's spokesperson on August 12 as saying the minister was able to return to work.

Subsequently, Madonsela again asked Shiceka for an interview, but was again turned down because he remained on sick leave.

Instead, his advisory team responded to written questions, but rebuffed her request for further clarification.

Shiceka said on Thursday the information she wanted was not relevant to the probe.

"The latest additional information requested by the investigators has got nothing to do with the allegations levelled against the minister as it [exceeds] the terms of reference of the investigation as set out by the ethics committee and has led to an unnecessary protraction in concluding the investigation."


Shiceka is alleged to have spent R355 000 to visit a girlfriend in a Swiss jail; R640 000 to stay in a luxury hotel in Cape Town  and more than R160 000 on plane tickets for his family.

Madonsela was asked by Parliament's ANC-led ethics committee to investigate him for breaching the Executive Members' Ethics Act.

It requires the probe to be concluded within 30 days.

Zuma has come under growing pressure to take a decision on Shiceka's tenure given his long absence.

The Democratic Alliance has accused the president of "hiding behind" the public protector's work, while the minister remains absent on full ministerial pay.

"Shiceka owes South Africans an explanation and President Zuma owes us some action," the party said.

  • gatvol4corru - 2011-09-15 22:53

    sick in his head! Corruption and incompetency does that to a comrade! Go madonsela!

      letsee - 2011-09-16 09:08

      Mandonsela must not give up and Shiceka must account to the public. Shiceka is not above the law.

  • Sit-hole - 2011-09-15 23:09

    100% support Madonsela. Complete opposite of an ANCockroach.

  • BoB - 2011-09-15 23:46

    Someone tell this idiot minister that being "unethical and unprofessional"is the abusing of state funds by him.

  • Martin - 2011-09-16 01:43

    This issue is now becoming a sick joke! unbelievable!

  • leonard - 2011-09-16 05:27

    Zuma will have to get new backroom boys.There is so much dwang flying around that he missed this one and its implications.Zuma still does not realise that to be a LEADER one needs to act,or will we wait years before any action is taken.SUGGESTION.......get our money back and fire him.

  • piet.strydom - 2011-09-16 05:36

    Ok, so he can't go to work, b4 Madonsela has completed her report. But he will not talk to her until he is back at work....

      Pencilgraffiti - 2011-09-16 08:41

      He's acting with the mentality of a 13year-old brat... And 13year-old brats don't make good ministers. And if he is a minister then you know what the standard of the government is beneath and beside him..

      Kenno - 2011-09-16 08:47

      Its called " GUILT "

      (YNPL) Youth in need of a proper leader - 2011-09-16 11:54

      To tell the truth if i were him and i was guilty, id probably do the same! I need to understand though, how does this case qualify him to take sick leave, sounds more like suspention from work? Is that not fraudulent in its self?

  • Durbsdude - 2011-09-16 06:54

    They're all stealing state funds. The honest ones will be alienated as Thuli Madonsela is finding out. I hope she has armed protection because she's potentially stepping on the toes of the entire Presidency..

  • Peacock - 2011-09-16 07:42

    Why should he return to work? Lazy bum being paid for doing nothing....... Will discuus things when he is back at work..... No report until he is back at work.......... Coincidence or what.... A minister gets caught with the fingers in the pie and .. what do you know... they are then very sick and get FULL pay to be off work indeffinately. Will only go to work when the report is complete...... IS HE SICK - has been for 7 month now - with WHAT? Not very Co operative is he?

  • leonard - 2011-09-16 07:44

    Totally off the subject.Please News24,remove the picture of malema on the header page,I really feel ill every time I see this.Try picture of a sunset or flowers.Thanks guys.

      Slive - 2011-09-16 07:55

      Agreed Leonard, the fat obese butty boy is a sick sight

  • mac-d - 2011-09-16 08:20

    can't we get someone with the same vision an mission as Mandosela so that they help each other to quickly get rid of this batards,i'am sick an tired of this ANC morons'.

  • kalabafazi - 2011-09-16 09:00

    Dear Mr President. Kindly call off Ms. Modensela. Her enquiries are making me nervous. I don't think it is necessary to remind you of the evidence I have against you in the Arms Deal. Yours Faithfully Mr. Shiceka

  • letsee - 2011-09-16 09:08

    Mandonsela must not give up and Shiceka must account to the public. Shiceka is not above the law.

  • Swart_Baas - 2011-09-16 09:17

    a scathing report..that is what Thuli will release next week. I think she migh thave shown some parts of the reports to this lad and the findings might just confirm what we all knew all along, the minister lives like a hip-hop start billionare. Bring it on Thuli, you have earned our trust!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • leonard - 2011-09-16 11:27

    Come come News24,my request for a picture change is not too much to ask,or is it.Give us a break,change the picture PLEASE.

  • Clive - 2011-09-20 21:13

    The words "Zuma" and "action" don't belong in the same sentence. Witness the interminable delay in the Gwen/Cele police HQ saga - way beyond Zuma's own self-imposed deadline. The man is hopeless.

  • IhateYou - 2011-09-22 10:50

    SHiceka must account for his actions. He's using tax payers money with his many children and galfriends

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