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Sat Dec 20 18:26:42 CAT 2014

Madonsela calls for end to mudslinging

Sapa | 28 August, 2014 21:07
"The problem sometimes is exaggeration. I don't go on road shows and talk about reports I have not done. Often we are regulated to talk about case studies," said Madonsela. File photo
Image by: Sydney Seshibedi

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Thursday called for an end to the mudslinging between her office and the ANC.

"You don't throw mud and remain with clean hands," she told reporters in Pretoria on Thursday.

"Can the name calling stop? It's not helpful for democracy, it's not helpful for the country."

Madonsela was responding to a barrage of criticism emanating from the African National Congress, following the leaking of a letter she had written to President Jacob Zuma.

Madonsela reportedly wrote to Zuma last week about the R246 million spent on upgrades at his private Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

In her letter she reportedly cautioned him that he was second-guessing her recommendations that he 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 Madonsela's report on Nkandla, Zuma indicated that Police Minister Nathi Nhleko should determine if he should repay any of the money.

Since then, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has publicly criticised her and suggested she was working with Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters.

Mantashe accused Madonsela of going on road trips and discussing reports she had not compiled. He said Madonsela was on a crusade to discredit the party.

Madonsela refuted the claims.

"The problem sometimes is exaggeration. I don't go on road shows and talk about reports I have not done. Often we are regulated to talk about case studies," said Madonsela.

During the briefing, Madonsela refused to name the ANC politician who had reportedly leaked the letter and instead called on that individual to take responsibility.

"I will not name the person. If anyone wants to know who it is, they must speak to the two media houses. The person who leaked the letter has to take responsibility," she said.

Madonsela called on the media to be balanced in their reports.

She asked why her office was being singled out when there was a leak. Other institutions such as the Special Investigating Unit and National Prosecuting Authority have had their documents leaked in the past but were never accused of the leaks, she said.

"When my office gets blamed for things it has not done, do you think they are strengthening democracy? We hear of matters from NPA being leaked but no one claims responsibility," she said.

Madonsela added that she was disconcerted by attacks on her by ANC members. She said it was not all members of the party who were not happy with her work but a select few.

"I am not fazed by that, but I would appeal to the leaders to rein in those people that seem not to have respect for fellow human beings," she said.

Madonsela said she had served in the ANC and taken up arms while those insulting her were nowhere to be seen.

"A lot of those insulting me are old enough to have been in the trenches with me but they were not there when it was tough," she said.

Madonsela said she took up the liberation fight to ensure she could one day tell her grandchildren that they had done what they could to better the country.

She called on external actors not to meddle in state affairs. She said those in the ANC should look at themselves carefully before throwing mud.

"This hooliganism that masquerades as party spokesmanship must be reined in. You don't throw mud and remain with clean hands," she said.

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