Public Protector saddened by baseless accusations levelled against her by the Office of the Chief Whip of the ruling party in Parliament
Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela on Wednesday noted with sadness the unfounded allegations levelled against her by the Office of the ANC Chief Whip in Parliament and the Office’s apparent failure to check the facts, which should be in Parliamentary records, before going to the media.
The allegations relate to public remarks the Public Protector made regarding the nonexistence -in law- of a competent authority to take action against the President in the event an investigation conducted by a Public Protector in terms of the Executive Members Ethics Act necessitates the need for such action.
Accusations that, by making such statements, the Public Protector sought to "subtly try the President and his Executive in a court of public opinion" are misleading and unfortunate. So do remarks that the Public Protector has neither approached Parliament regarding "the dilemma nor proposed to the institution the necessity for a legislative intervention”.
The Public Protector would like to draw the attention the Office of the Chief Whip to the remedial action she directed in Report No. 1 of 2010/11, which followed an investigation into alleged breach of Section 5 of the Executive Ethics Code by President Jacob Zuma. The said remedial action reads, in part:
"The Public Protector's recommendations are that:
(d) Parliament considers an amendment to the Executive Members' Ethics Act to address all uncertainties or anomalies paying attention to the following:
(iii) To resolve the issue regarding the office or person to whom a report involving the ethical conduct of the President should be submitted by the Public Protector."
The report referred to above was released publicly more than three years ago, in April 2010, and was submitted to all parties, including Parliament. Subsequent to the issuing of the report, the Public Protector was advised by the Presidency and the Speaker on the National Assembly that the proposed amendments were being effected. She later got a draft version of the amended Act from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.
It is, however, not clear how far that process went. 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.
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.
The Public Protector has already indicated that she will submit the report relating to allegations of impropriety and unethical conduct relating to the installation and implementation of security measures by the Department of Public Works at and in respect of the private residence of President Jacob Zuma at Nkandla to the Speaker, along with the concerned parties, including complainants and respondents. A provisional report on the matter is due to be released for to the parties for comments this week.
For more information, contact:
Manager: Outreach, Education and Communication
Public Protector South Africa
012 366 7035
072 264 3273