/ 31 October 2013

ANC chief whip’s Madonsela remarks are ‘misleading and mischievous’

Public protector Thuli Madonsela has taken IEC chair Pansy Tlakula to task over a lease agreement.
Public protector Thuli Madonsela has taken IEC chair Pansy Tlakula to task over a lease agreement.

Public protector Thuli Madonsela dismissed as "baseless" on Wednesday accusations by ANC chief whip Stone Sizani about her probe into President Jacob Zuma's homestead at Nkandla.

Sizani had questioned her remarks about the difficulty of obtaining clarity on where her reports relating the president should be submitted.

His spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said Madonsela's preliminary report on the Nkandla matter should be submitted to Parliament, as both Zuma and Madonsela were accountable to Parliament.

He accused Madonsela of unfairly portraying Zuma and members of the executive as trying to dodge accountability.

"It is unfortunate that the public protector's public remarks regarding her dilemma have subtly sought to try the president and his executive in a court of public opinion," Mothapo said.

"There is no doubt that the president's dignity has been unfairly harmed by all these inferences in the media. This does not augur well for fairness and justice."

'Misleading and unfortunate'
He also claimed that Madonsela had not approached Parliament for clarity on the matter, nor proposed the necessity for a legislative intervention.

However, Madonsela's spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said the statement released by Sizani's office contained "misleading and unfortunate" remarks.

Segalwe said that Madonsela had previously made recommendations to Parliament that it resolve where public protector reports involving the ethical conduct of the president should be submitted.

She later got a draft version of the amended Executive Members' Ethics Act, which legislates such processes, but it was unclear how far this process had reached.

"To this end, the public protector wrote to the secretary of Cabinet a few weeks ago, requesting progress on the legislative reform and on how to address the gap. She has not yet received a response," Segalwe said.

"It is therefore misleading and mischievous for the office of the chief whip to suggest that Parliament was neither approached regarding the 'dilemma' nor asked to consider amending the Act."

A provisional report
Madonsela would submit her report to National Assembly speaker Max Sisulu and concerned parties.

A provisional report would be submitted to the concerned parties so they could provide feedback before the report was finalised.

Last week, Madonsela questioned the government's delay in changing the law determining to whom she should hand reports concerning the presidency.

She said when it came to investigating members of the executive, the report was normally given to the president, but now it was tricky as the report was about him.

At a Black Management Forum conference at the time, she said she had advised the government about the problem three years ago and asked it to change the law.

On Friday, Segalwe said Madonsela was awaiting feedback from the presidency after she asked about the law reform process to "clarify the competent authority to receive the report". – Sapa