Madonsela suspects Zuma, SSA involvement in Mkhwebane tension - report

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela. (File, Netwerk24)
Former public protector Thuli Madonsela. (File, Netwerk24)

Cape Town - Former public protector Thuli Madonsela says she suspects that President Zuma and the State Security Agency (SSA) could be involved in some of the ongoing tensions between herself and her successor, a report says.

Madonsela told eNCA in a recorded interview on Saturday that the current spat with her successor Busisiwe Mkhwebane over deductions to her pension may be a result of interference from the President, the State Security Agency, or both.

"I have no evidence, but I suspect that either President Zuma or people linked to him are behind what's happening at the Public Protector's office," she told the broadcaster.

"I have no evidence, but I suspect that the State Security Agency is behind some of the things that happened in my office before the [new] Public Protector was appointed and what has happened since then."

Madonsela has said previously that money was illegally deducted from her pension since leaving office last year, reportedly as a result of costs incurred by an accident her son was involved in while driving a state vehicle and her continued use of the vehicle after her term ended.

She revealed to eNCA that the figure is in the range of R470 000.

"I haven't decided how to proceed because honestly I would just like to move on with my life. It's not my style or interest to be entangled in a legal battle with the Public Protector."

When asked if she thought it was an act of vengeance for her work on both her Nkandla report and State of Capture report, she said it was possible, but had no evidence.

She also said it was "bizarre" that she has never met Mkhwebane personally, and that attempts to do so had failed during the handover phase.

However, she did not want to speak out against Mkhwebane, reaffirming her stance that it is not collegial to speak out on one's successor.

Presidency spokesperson Dr Bongani Ngqulunga was not immediately available for comment on Saturday.

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