Madonsela criticism unfounded: CRC

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Copy of iol news pic Thuli Madonsela Apr24 Independent Newspapers Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. File picture: Antoine de Ras

Johannesburg - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is well within her rights to report on government's conduct, the Centre for Constitutional Rights said on Tuesday.

“Apart from investigating maladministration and abuse of power, in terms of section 182, the Public Protector also has the power, as regulated by legislation, to 'report on that conduct' as she sees fit and in her sole discretion, 'take appropriate remedial action',” the CRC said in a statement.

According to the CRC, recent criticism of Madonsela and her office was unnecessary.

“This criticism is unfounded, both in context of the Constitution as well as the Public Protector Act.”

The African National Congress earlier expressed concern over Madonsela's conduct towards arms of state.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said as a representative of a chapter nine institution she had a responsibility to protect the integrity of the office of the public protector in discharging her responsibilities.

“This means she should not undermine another arm of state that she deferred to, to further process a report that she compiled,” Mantashe told reporters.

He was speaking after the conclusion of the party's national working committee meeting on Monday.

Mantashe said Madonsela's conduct prejudiced the work of Parliament and its committees.

He was reacting to a letter Madonsela reportedly wrote to President Jacob Zuma last week about the spending of R246 million on security upgrades at his Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal homestead.

In her letter, she cautioned Zuma against second-guessing her recommendations that he repay part of the money spent on features unrelated to security, such as a swimming pool, cattle kraal, amphitheatre, and visitors' centre.

In previous responses to her report on Nkandla, Zuma indicated Police Minister Nathi Nhleko needed to determine if he should pay back any of the R246 million.

Madonsela wrote in her letter: “I am concerned that the decision you have made regarding the police minister gives him power he does not have under law, which is to review my decision taken in pursuit of the powers of administrative scrutiny I am given... by the Constitution.”

Mantashe said Madonsela must give Parliament space to process her report.


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