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Thuli faces slew of anonymous allegations

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INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. File Photo: Oupa Mokoena

Cape Town - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is under scrutiny again, with the auditor-general and the police expected to investigate a slew of anonymous allegations against her and her office, ranging from fraud to maladministration.

Parliament’s oversight committee on justice and constitutional development considered some of the allegations raised by “concerned staff” from Madonsela’s office on Tuesday.

The committee agreed to consider the allegations, despite its misgivings about them having been made anonymously, on Madonsela’s insistence. One of the allegations was that the public protector in Kimberley had received bribes from the DA to fast-track cases.

The Office on Institutions Supporting Democracy, headed by advocate Nonkosi Cetywayo, submitted a memorandum with a 15-page dossier of complaints from the concerned staff members against Madonsela.

The committee is considering these claims after hearing others levelled by Madonsela’s former deputy Mamiki Shai, who battled to substantiate her allegations against her former boss when she appeared before the committee last year.

Shai had claimed in her dossier that Madonsela had changed findings of a report concerning the DA-led Midvaal Municipality and deliberately withheld the release of the report into Midvaal Municipality until after local government elections.

In the dossier addressed last year to Deputy Speaker in the National Assembly Nomaindia Mfeketo, the concerned staff said it was out of “sheer desperation, frustration and on the basis of legal advice” that they had decided to approach her and the National Assembly with the complaints.

The complaints include maladministration, misappropriation of public funds, improper conduct, intimidation and victimisation.

DA MP Debbie Schafer said the committee should identify which issues it wanted addressed by Madonsela herself and she should come to answer the committee at a meeting agreed on “and that she comes prepared to answer those questions”.

There are a number of allegations of non-compliance with the Public Finance Management Act, some “regarding inflated tenders and so on and the allocation of tenders and I would like to see these investigated by the auditor-general if possible”, said Schafer.

She also wanted the appointment of consultants raised with the auditor-general. “There are also allegations that the public protector in Kimberley has received bribes from the DA to fast-track cases. I would like to hear about that as well.”

ANC MP Chana Pilane-Majake said when she looked at the seriousness of some of the allegations “you realise that for us to really have closure there is a need for some kind of investigation”.

Committee chairman Luwellyn Landers said a letter must go to the police regarding fraud allegations against chief executive Themba Mthethwa, asking that they provide the committee with a written report on their investigation.

ANC MP John Jeffery said the difficulty with the whole saga was “the slew of anonymous complaints”.

In her response to the allegations, addressed to Speaker Max Sisulu, Madonsela said they “are personal opinions or conclusions of authors of the anonymous complaint and the team did not respond to them”. Madonsela also submitted responses to specific allegations, denying any wrongdoing.

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