Cosatu's general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi says President Jacob Zuma should adhere to the public protector's recommendations or challenge them in court, the Sunday Times reported. Vavi told the paper that Thuli Madonsela's recommendations "reigned supreme" and that her office was a critical foundation of democracy.
"We've accepted that those recommendations have to be implemented -- all of them," he was quoted as saying.
Vavi said some of the criticism Madonsela had received was "absolutely disgusting to say the least.
"Everybody has had a field day. Some people even made comments about the shape of her nose," said Vavi.
"The public protector has to be respected."
The Congress of SA Trade Unions was backing Madonsela after she was attacked by the African National Congress following leaks of her official reports to the media. the Sunday Times reported.
In March, Madonsela found that Zuma and his family had unduly benefited from the R246 million upgrades made to his private Nkandla home.
She said government had built a visitors centre, cattle kraal and chicken run, a swimming pool, and amphitheatre for Zuma.
She recommended he pay back some of the money that went into the upgrades.