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Madonsela to answer her critics

The public protector will hold a briefing in Pretoria this afternoon.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is due to answer her critics this afternoon during a briefing in Pretoria.

Madonsela recently sent President Jacob Zuma an ultimatum letter to determine when he will be taking action over her report into upgrades at his Nkandla home.

After the letter was leaked, Madonsela and her office came under attack from the African National Congress (ANC) which accused her of being biased, undermining Parliament and treating the Nkandla investigation as a personal project.

Officially, Madonsela's briefing is about clarifying what she calls the "architecture of South Africa's constitutional democracy" and to explain how her office investigates cases.

She's also likely to tell those attacking the integrity of her office to back off, arguing that enforcing accountability doesn't undermine democracy, but strengthens it.

Madonsela has agreed to take questions and there will be no shortage of them.

She's likely to be asked about her claims that a senior ANC official leaked her letter to Zuma, about accusations that she's working with opposition parties, and why she is engaging in what's been described as "tit-for-tat" with the ruling party.

The Nkandla upgrades came under heavy criticism in a report by Madonsela in March.

The 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.