Maphatsoe: My comments were misinterpreted

Maphatsoe accused Thuli Madonsela of being a CIA spy who was trying to ‘destabilise the ANC’.

Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans' Association (MKMVA) chairman Kebby Maphatsoe speaks about the recent formation of a breakaway political party by ANC veterans during a news conference in Johannesburg, Tuesday, 30 April 2013. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy Defence Minister Kebby Maphatsoe says his comments about the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Public Protector Thuli Madonsela have been misinterpreted.

At the weekend Maphatsoe, who is also chairperson of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association, accused Madonsela of being deployed as a CIA spy, to destabilise the African National Congress (ANC) and ultimately the country.

Maphatsoe says the comments were misunderstood.

"Madonsela is claiming that she was a former member of Umkhonto we Sizwe and everybody is distancing themselves to say no, no one trained her. Then, as I was saying, if she claims to be a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe, she was handled somewhere."

Last month, the Public Protector wrote to President Jacob Zuma, asking him when he is going to respond to her Nkandla findings, stating that he had benefitted unduly from upgrades to his homestead.

Madonsela's spokesperson Oupa Segalwe has called for the deputy defence minister to retract his statement.

"The Public Protector has written to Mr Maphatsoe, requesting that he confirm if he indeed made those comments and if he would provide her with irrefutable evidence within 72 hours of receipt of the letter concerned."

Segalwe says, "Failing which, he will be left with no option but to invoke the contempt of the Public Protector powers, as envisaged in sections 9 and 11 of the Public Protector Act, which is a prison sentence or a fine."

The ANC has since distance itself from the comments and called on people to respect Madonsela's office.