Madonsela defends Midvaal probe

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Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Courtney Africa

Johannesburg - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has denied there were errors in her investigation into the Midvaal local municipality.

Madonsela had clarified that “no errors were committed in her investigation of irregularities at Midvaal local municipality in Gauteng”, her office said on Monday.

This followed a report in the Sunday Independent that Madonsela had “admitted to errors” in her investigation of the Democratic Alliance-led Midvaal municipality.

Madonsela's office said she had “only admitted to the fact that she had made undertakings on the release of the report, which were not met because the report didn't come through as agreed from the investigation team”.

The Sunday Independent reported that she had failed to instruct the law society to probe attorney Andre Odendaal, who was also the DA leader in the area, and who was “fingered in her report”.

Madonsela said a letter should have been sent to the Law Society of the Northern Provinces on the day the report was released to the public.

“In the case of Midvaal, it appears as though the letters and the report were not sent the Law Society.”

This was “an oversight” and she had not been aware that it had not been sent.

“It is important to note that the Public Protector was not aware of this oversight, hence she made reference to this particular case when she addressed the Law Society's AGM on Saturday, October 6, 2012.

“The Public Protector has also made mention of the case during a recent interview with the Law Society's magazine, De Rebus,” her office said.

The documents would now be sent to the Law Society.

The protector again denied “yet unsubstantiated allegations” that she had held back the report until after the 2011 local government elections.

“... The investigation process remained with the Deputy Public Protector and team until after the election, with the Public Protector being given the provisional report on 18 May 2011.”

The elections were held on May 18 last year.

Earlier this month, the Sunday Times reported that Madonsela's deputy Mamiki Shai had claimed that Madonsela changed the findings of the Midvaal report.

The report also alleged that Madonsela deliberately withheld its release until after the May 2011 municipal elections. The results of the Midvaal probe were announced in November 2011.

Madonsela was concerned about the anonymous allegations against her, and the time she spent responding to media enquiries about them, her office said.

It called on those with allegations against her to make a sworn statement under oath and lodge it with the Auditor General under the Protected Disclosure Act of 2000.

Alternatively, they could forward it to Parliament, which was looking into allegations against her and her office.

“In this regard, the Public Protector will no longer entertain such enquiries,” her office said. - Sapa


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