Pretoria - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is not disconcerted by attacks on her by ANC members, she said on Thursday.
“I am not fazed by that, but I would appeal to the leaders to rein in those people that seem not to have respect for fellow human beings,” she told reporters in Pretoria.
Madonsela said she had served in the African National Congress and taken up arms while those insulting her were nowhere to be seen.
“A lot of those insulting me are old enough to have been in the trenches with me but they were not there when it was tough,” she said.
Madonsela said she took up the liberation fight to ensure she could one day tell her grandchildren that they had done what they could to better the country.
Madonsela was responding to the war of words between her office and the African National Congress. The row emanated from the leaking to the press of a letter she wrote to President Jacob Zuma on his response to her Nkandla report.
Madonsela's report looked at the R246 million spent on security upgrades at Zuma's private Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal homestead.
The ANC on Tuesday accused Madonsela of not doing her work correctly. Party secretary general Gwede Mantashe said she was abusing her office and trying to get media attention by saying things not in any report or being investigated anywhere.
This followed Madonsela's claim that the letter she had written to Zuma was leaked by a senior ANC official.
In her letter she cautioned Zuma he was second-guessing her recommendations that he should repay part of the money spent on features at Nkandla unrelated to security, such as a swimming pool, cattle kraal, amphitheatre, and visitors' centre.
In his reply 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 denied the leak came from the ANC and said Madonsela's office had leaked every report she wrote and blamed it on the divisions within the ANC.
He suggested that she had worked with Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters, whose MPs heckled Zuma about Nkandla in Parliament last Thursday.
Madonsela on Thursday called on external actors not to meddle in state affairs. She said those in the ANC should look at themselves carefully before throwing mud.
“This hooliganism that masquerades as party spokesmanship must be reined in. You don't throw mud and remain with clean hands,” she said.