Protector to be grilled by MPs

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IOL Thuli Madonsela111 INLSA Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Photo: Oupa Mokoena

Parliament - MPs resolved on Tuesday to call in Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to discuss unresolved complaints of maladministration in her office.

The justice portfolio committee decided to call Madonsela - though these were internal matters raised mainly through anonymous complaints - because she herself had asked it to investigate.

However, MPs from all parties said it was not the committee's place to police inter-personal disputes at the chapter nine institution, and that it was hard to see which oversight body had the mandate to do so.

Dene Smuts of the Democratic Alliance dismissed a proposal by the ANC that the Public Service Commission be approached, saying the public protector was not part of the public service.

“It is not part of the public sector, but there is an anomaly, and we do not have the capacity on this committee.”

The issue has lingered since last year when the committee called then deputy public protector Mamiki Shai to substantiate allegations she made against Madonsela.

Shai battled to do so and that meeting was described on Tuesday by committee chairman Luwellyn Landers as “very frustrating and unsatisfactory”.

Her allegations included that her signature had been forged and that Madonsela had withheld a report on the DA-led Midvaal Municipality until after local government elections.

Madonsela has said the allegations were “false” and “misleading”, and raised concerns that it would undermine the functioning of her office.

Shai was replaced by Kevin Malunga late last year after her term expired.

Smuts said the committee should use its meeting with Madonsela to raise concerns that she was exceeding her mandate by investigating problems within the justice department.

“There are matters that really belong with the master (of the courts) that she intruded upon. She cannot take on issues that are beyond her jurisdiction.”

These investigations had come to light after Madonsela briefed the committee on her annual report last year and said the justice department was the source of most complaints brought to her office.

The committee then asked for a breakdown of the cases involving the department. - Sapa


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