Thuli Madonsela

Parliament’s oversight committee on justice has called for Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to appear before it to answer anonymous allegations against her, and it wants some complaints investigated.

But MPs agreed it was not the committee’s place to deal with “interpersonal” disputes.

They were discussing a dossier of anonymous complaints sent to Parliament by “concerned staff”.

The committee agreed to consider the complaints after Madonsela herself insisted that they should be aired.

DA MP Debbie Schafer said Madonsela’s response was already in the committee’s possession from its previous meeting.

“We need to identify what issues are still of concern to us and get the public protector to come answer to those issues. I think we all agreed last time that most of the issues were interpersonal and staff issues related to how she runs the office. I don’t think it’s our role to get involved,” Schafer said.

However, she said, there were a number of allegations related to non-compliance with the Public Finance Management Act.

“And also, there are allegations regarding inflated tenders and so on, and the allocation of tenders. I would like to see that investigated by the auditor-general, if possible,” Schafer said.

The ANC’s John Jeffery said the committee would need to target a full day with Madonsela to deal with all the matters.

“It will also save her time. That’s a good proposal (to bring Madonsela in), and maybe just to start on it.”

Dene Smuts, of the DA, said the committee also needed to discuss with Madonsela how she went beyond her jurisdiction in taking on certain cases.

“(Madonsela) cited the Department of Justice as a main culprit that represented her greatest case load. For instance, she’s looking at applications for appeals not heard, even judgments delayed. These are matters that rightly belong with the master (of the courts) that she intruded upon. We need to go through that with her,” Smuts said.

Chana Pilane-Majake, of the ANC said the public protector’s office was dealing with too many anonymous complaints.

On the allegations against Madonsela, Pilane-Majake said: “When you look at the seriousness of some of these allegations, you realise there is a need for… investigation. Of course, some are pure (human resources) matters.”