ANC questions 'suspicious' timing of Madonsela's letter

Gwede Mantashe says without accusing anybody, there is a clear indication of a tight coordination.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC)'s National Working Committee says it's curious that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela wrote her Nkandla letter to President Jacob Zuma just as Julius Malema was disrupting Parliament last week.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said there's some evidence of coordination.

"Even more curious is that some Members of Parliament (MPs) claim to have seen the public protector in the Parliamentary precinct on the same day. Without accusing anybody, there is a clear indication of a tight coordination."

Mantashe said the ruling party is deeply worried about how Madonsela's Nkandla letter to the president was leaked to the media.

Madonsela sent president Zuma a strongly-worded seven-page letter demanding to know when he will pay back some of the money spent on upgrades at his private Nkandla home in KwaZulu-Natal and requested his response within 14 days.

The public protector said Zuma's refusal to adhere to her recommendations could breed a culture of impunity in the state.

The ANC says the advocate's letter undermines Parliament because it claims Zuma did not comply with her Nkandla report when parliament hasn't yet made a determination.

At the same time, ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte says the problem is Madonsela's attitude.

"Her attitude has been that she's more superior than the Constitution and Parliament and we all need to work for that to be protected."

But despite these comments, the ANC says it isn't attacking the office of the public protector.

The Nkandla upgrades came under heavy criticism in a report by Madonsela in March. Madonsela's report said Zuma had "benefited unduly" from some of the upgrades, which included a cattle enclosure and amphitheatre, and should pay back some of the costs of the unnecessary renovations.

Zuma responded to the interministerial task team and the Special Investigating Unit's reports on the security upgrades, but did not address a call from Madonsela to return some of the money.


The party's national working committee has also called on Parliament to take strong action against members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) who disrupted the National Assembly last week.

Mantashe said the party believes Parliament does have the legal tools to act against those who disrupt proceedings.

"The ANC therefore calls on Parliament to take firm action against those who disrupt its proceedings to deter them and anyone else from doing so again."

Mantashe said the party has a duty to protect the institutions of democracy.

National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete has meanwhile asked EFF MPs to explain in writing why they should not be suspended from Parliament.

Mbete said Parliament's powers and privileges committee will investigate Thursday's chaos when EFF members refused to leave the house.


Madonsela has taken to Twitter regarding her letter to Zuma, saying this is not a political exercise and politicians should stop interfering.

Yesterday, the public protector said she was told that the letter had been leaked by a senior ANC politician.

Madonsela has used social media to respond to the ANC after the party claimed she was undermining Parliament by writing to the president.

She said South Africa "is in trouble when politicians meddle in the investigation processes, leak documents and then cry foul".

Madonsela also thanked South Africans "for believing in the constitutional dream and supporting her team's consistent role".

Administrative scrutiny is a reality if our constitutional democracy. It's not a political exercise & Politicians should stop interfering

We-are in trouble when politicians meddle in the investigation processes and leak documents then cry foul # constitutionalism