Attacks are election tactics, says Madonsela

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Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Photo: Dumisani Sibeko

Cape Town - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says ANC leaders are attacking her over the Nkandla report for electioneering purposes and to position themselves for lucrative jobs after the polls.

While she insists she has forgiven the ANC for the attacks, Madonsela has dismissed the ANC parliamentary caucus’ disparaging remarks against her as nothing more than political survival tactics and “self-preservation”.

Madonsela was speaking in an interview as the ANC’s top leadership held its national executive committee meeting in Cape Town at the weekend. Her Nkandla report was among the topics discussed.

In an attack last week, ANC chief whip Stone Sizani accused Madonsela of overstepping the mark. Sizani said Madonsela had “disdainfully” referred to the inter-ministerial task team, which probed the R125-million security upgrades at President Jacob Zuma’s private Nkandla home at the request of the government, “as a little committee of ministers”.

Madonsela was also on the receiving end of sustained attacks by the ANC Youth League and the Congress of SA Students before ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe forced them to retract their sexist and personal insults.

“I have learnt to accept that people are doing what they think they need to do.

“It’s elections and after elections people have to get into positions. And I’ve forgiven them because I know that it’s not personal. It’s about self-preservation because he (Sizani) knows the truth.”

She said if ANC members had read provisions in the Public Protector Act, they would not be attacking her for the Nkandla findings.

“It doesn’t take five minutes to read the provisions of the Public Protector Act and the provisions of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act.

“They’re very clear that I can send the report to Parliament, if, firstly, I think it’s necessary; two, I think it’s in the public interest; three, I am asking parliament to do something,” she said.

She said she had reason for not involving Parliament.

“I didn’t think it was in the public interest. I didn’t think it was necessary. Why did I not think so? Because in 14 days the president is supposed to submit the report, his comments on it and his intentions regarding implementation of what I’ve asked him to implement.”

Madonsela said there would have been a “double submission” of the report to the National Assembly had she acceded to the ANC’s demand.

“In this case, learning from the lessons of the Independent Electoral Commission fiasco, I decided to follow the law. If he (Sizani) chooses to disparage me, I’ve met him personally. He’s not a bad person or he didn’t come across as a bad person… He has to do to survive,” she said.

Madonsela could not confirm whether Zuma’s office had been in formal contact with her office.

Madonsela’s comments came as ANC national executive committee members all but absolved Zuma of any wrongdoing on Nkandla. Instead they called for the sanctioning of the responsible line ministers.

ANC top brass also blamed former minister Lindiwe Sisulu and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Political Bureau

Access the Public Protector’s Nkandla report here


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