Johannesburg - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Tuesday took to Twitter and told politicians to stop interfering with her work.
“Administrative scrutiny is a reality if our constitutional democracy. It's not a political exercise & Politicians should stop interfering (sic),” she tweeted.
African National Congress secretary general Gwede Mantashe and his deputy Jesse Duarte criticised Madonsela and her office at a press briefing on Tuesday.
“We-are in trouble when politicians meddle in the investigation processes and leak documents then cry foul 1/8sic 3/8,” Madonsela tweeted.
Madonsela reportedly wrote to President Jacob Zuma last week about the spending of R246 million on security upgrades at his Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal homestead.
In her letter, she cautioned him he was second-guessing her recommendations that he should repay part of the money spent on features 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.”
Madonsela said on Monday that she had reason to believe a senior ANC official leaked her letter to the media.
Duarte and Mantashe questioned the timing of leak and the heckling of Zuma by Economic Freedom Fighters MPs in the National Assembly on Thursday.
The EFF had asked when Zuma would repay the Nkandla money, but did not get a reply. Speaker Baleka Mbete had to suspend proceedings and riot police were called in.
“A leak at the same time when the EFF undermines the people of SA is too much of a coincidence,” Duarte said.
Said Mantashe: “Even more curious is that some MPs claim to have seen the public protector in the parliamentary precinct on the same day. Without accusing anybody, the tight co-ordination of this offensive is interesting.”
The pair accused Madonsela of meddling in politics.
She stood her ground and questioned how accountability was weakening democracy.
“Can someone please say how exactly is the deepening of accountability a weakening parliamentary democracy... Let's face th truth. What's embarrassing the country isattempts to subvert the rule of law & not administrative scrutiny 1/8sic 3/8,” she said.
Madonsela said if everyone respected the Constitution and the law, there would be no crisis in the country.