Shiceka hits back at public protector

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sicelo Shiceka has defended himself against Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report, saying he will challenge it in a court of law. He said he would not be held liable for what the report called “a misuse of public funds”.

In Friday’s press statement he called Madonsela’s findings “baseless and lacking in evidence”.

Shiceka added he felt “that an injustice has being meted out against him and his rights have been crossly violated,” adding that he cooperated fully with the investigation”.

Speaking at the release of the final report into allegations against the minister for the misappropriation of public funds — which was handed over to the co-chairs of Parliament’s joint committee on ethics and members’ interest — Madonsela found Shiceka has acted unlawfully, was dishonest with public money and had contravened Cabinet’s executive ethics code as well as the Constitution.

The investigation was conducted after allegations surfaced early this year that Shiceka abused public funds, notably by visiting a former girlfriend in jail in Switzerland during December 2008 and staying at various luxury hotels at taxpayers’ expense, including while he was on official sick leave. Shiceka has been on sick leave since February.

Madonsela handed the report over to the co-chairs of Parliament’s joint committee on ethics and members’ interest, Buoang Mashile and Ben Turok, on Friday morning.

The minister’s responses were:

The controversial trip to Switzerland that cost tax payers R546 864, according to the protector’s report
Shiceka’s said that the trip to Switzerland in which he visited his jailed girlfriend was “indeed official and that it benefited South Africa during the preparations for the World Cup 2010”. He added that the president said in reply to a parliamentary question that the Shiceka’s visit to Switzerland was “official and beneficial to the country”.

The Lesotho trip that Shiceka made while on sick leave, for which the hotel has still not been paid according to the report.
“The honourable minister disputes that he booked in at Lesotho Sun hotel”. He argued that the room was booked under the name of Ms Ngesi and that Ms Ngesi would pay. “The minister further finds it peculiar as to who gave the public protector the permission to enter another country and conduct clandestine investigations and he will take up this matter with the government of Lesotho.”

Madonsela criticised Shiceka paying R55 793 to stay at the One and Only Hotel for one night in Cape Town and paying for Mntambo who he called “his father figure” but is not his father.

“The honourable minister maintains that Mr Mntambo is his father in terms of costmary practice [sic] and that all the expenses expended in this regard were within the relevant regulations and accordingly lawful.”

He added, “it is however unfortunate that the public protector’s office has deliberately dismissed our own customary law and practices and resolved to approach the matter in a eurocentric and minimalist way”.

Shiceka called her findings inconsistent, saying: “The minister notes with great concern a number of glaring inconsistencies in the public protector’s findings in comparison to other similar cases she conducted prior to this investigation.”

On Madonsela’s findings that he violated the ministerial handbook.
Shiceka said he did not violate the ministerial handbook and therefore was “not as such liable for breach of any regulation[s] as implied by the public protector’s findings”. He said Madonsela was misleading in ordering him to “reimburse the state”.

Terms of reference of the investigation
Shiceka maintained that Madonsela went beyond the terms of reference of the investigation as set out by the ethics committee. He likened her investigation to a “fishing trip solely intended to discredit him — rather that dealing with facts”.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Lynley Donnelly
Lynley Donnelly
Lynley is a senior business reporter at the Mail & Guardian. But she has covered everything from social justice to general news to parliament - with the occasional segue into fashion and arts. She keeps coming to work because she loves stories, especially the kind that help people make sense of their world.
Advertisting

Stella set to retain her perks

Communication minister will keep Cabinet perks during her two months of special leave

Not a sweet deal, Mister

Mister Sweet workers say they will not risk their health, and the lives of others, to continue producing and packaging confectionaries

Covid-19 grounds Nigeria’s medical tourists

The country’s elites, including the president, travelled abroad for treatment but now they must use the country’s neglected health system

Nehawu launches urgent court bid over protective gear for health...

The health workers’ union says the government has rebuffed its attempts to meet about mitigating risks to workers

Press Releases

Rahima Moosa Hospital nursing college introduces no-touch facial recognition access system

The new system allows the hospital to enrol people’s faces immediately, using artificial intelligence, and integrates easily with existing access control infrastructure, including card readers and biometrics

Everyone’s talking about it. Even Kentucky

Earlier this year South African fried chicken fast-food chain, Chicken Licken®, launched a campaign for their wallet-friendly EasyBucks® meals, based on the idea of ‘Everyone’s talking about it.’

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world