Johannesburg - A Cabinet minister has accused Public Protector Thuli Madonsela of being a CIA plant and of undermining the ANC and the government to create a puppet regime for the US.
Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Kebby Maphatsoe is the latest high-profile and senior government member to launch an attack on the public protector.
“We can’t allow people to hijack the ANC. We’ll fight and defend the African National Congress. UThuli umele asitshele ukuthi ubani ihandler yakhe (Thuli must tell us who her handler is),” Maphatsoe said.
He was addressing hundreds of people who attended the tombstone unveiling of former Umkhonto we-Sizwe combatant Linda “Lion of Chiawelo” Jabane in Soweto on Saturday. The crowd applauded at the accusation.
His comments have irked the usually composed public protector, who has vowed to go to court to compel the deputy minister to recant.
The latest tirade comes after Madonsela wrote to President Jacob Zuma asking him to give details on when he was going to respond to recommendations of her Nkandla report.
Since the letter was sent last month, she has come under attack from the ANC and some of its alliance structures, all accusing her of undermining Parliament.
On August 21, chaos erupted in Parliament when EFF members and the party’s leader, Julius Malema, chanted in the House that Zuma should “pay back the money”, in reference to the R215 million upgrade to his private home in Nkandla.
The EFF members came under attack from the ANC and the DA for their “unbecoming behaviour and undermining the decorum of Parliament”.
ANC and SACP senior leaders were enraged when it emerged a few days later that Madonsela had written the letter to the president on August 21.
This prompted the ANC and SACP to accuse her of colluding with the EFF.
On Saturday, Maphatsoe ratcheted up the rhetoric on her and told the crowd at the unveiling that she was on the payroll of the CIA.
“Thuli can’t claim to say she was a member of Umkhonto weSizwe and all of a sudden she’s acting like a counter-revolutionary.
“They are even using our institutions now… These Chapter 9 institutions were created by the ANC but are now being used against us, and if you ask why, it’s an agenda of the Central Intelligence Agency. Ama (the) Americans want their own CEO in South Africa and we must not allow that,” Maphatsoe said.
ANC stalwart and MP Winnie Madikizela-Mandela also attended the unveiling.
Maphatsoe was unrepentant on Sunday, saying he was going to give details during a media conference at Luthuli House on Monday.
He said his outrage was sparked by Madonsela’s claim in a radio interview that she was an ex-MK underground operative.
“Thuli was on radio last week. During her interview she claimed that she was a member of Umkhonto weSizwe.
“We do not have such details. I am going to give full details about the comments I made at the tombstone, including why we believe she is an agent of the CIA.”
Maphatsoe accused Madonsela of using her position to undermine the ANC and the government, including Parliament, as well as the constitution.
On Sunday night, Madonsela vowed to take legal action against Maphatsoe. She said she would serve papers on him, asking him to retract and apologise or “provide incontrovertible evidence” that she is an agent.
Maphatsoe would be expected to do so within seven working days if the papers are served on him.
Madonsela reiterated that Maphatsoe was not the first senior government official to make such allegations against her.
“Last month, an Mpumalanga MEC (Sports, Culture and Recreation MEC) Norah Mahlangu-Mabena also made a similar claim. She also claimed I was an agent. I served papers on the premier (David Mabuza), asking the MEC to retract her statement,” Madonsela said.
She said she had been aware of the peddling of these lies for more than a month.
“I am going to take legal action. I am glad that they mentioned it. I am giving them a long rope to hang themselves.”