Public protector Thuli Madonsela’s office on Tuesday said it knew nothing of an apology to her by MK military veterans chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe .
Kgalalelo Masibi and Oupa Segalwe, both spokespersons for Madonsela, said they had not received a statement containing Maphatsoe’s apology.
“No, I am not aware of it,” said Masibi.
Segalwe said the statement was probably forwarded to other people in the office and he would only be able to confirm on Wednesday whether it had indeed been received.
Maphatsoe withdrew and apologised for comments he made apparently linking Madonsela and the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). “On Saturday and Monday, I made statements in my capacity as the national chairperson on behalf of MKMVA about the public protector,” Maphatsoe said in a statement on Tuesday.
“After consultation with my organisation, the African National Congress, it would seem as though my statements have been misunderstood and misinterpreted.
“I therefore withdraw those statements and apologise for any offences and hurt that would have been caused,” Maphatsoe said.
The apology came several hours after he told the National Assembly that he made no such comments about Madonsela.
The Star reported on Monday that Maphatsoe, who is also deputy defence and military veterans minister, had made the statements while speaking at a tombstone unveiling of an Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association combatant in Soweto on Saturday.
“We can’t allow people to hijack the ANC. We’ll fight and defend the African National Congress.
“uThuli kumele asitshele ukuthi ubani ihandler yakhe [Thuli must tell us who her handler is],” Maphatsoe reportedly said. “They are even using our institutions now… These Chapter Nine institutions were created by the ANC but are now being used against us, and if you ask why, it is the Central Intelligence Agency. Ama [the] Americans want their own CEO in South Africa and we must not allow that,” Maphatsoe was quoted as saying.
Madonsela’s office on Monday said Maphatsoe was given three days to back up his allegations or issue an apology and retract his comments. If Maphatsoe failed to apologise, Madonsela intended invoking sections nine and 11 of the Public Protector Act 23 of 1994, which states it is a crime to insult the public protector.
In the same statement containing his apology, Maphatsoe said the behaviour and conduct of the public protector remained “a source of concern”. – Sapa