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ANC welcomes Maphatsoe’s apology

Kebby Maphatsoe apologised for saying Thuli Madonsela is a spy for the CIA.

Kebby Maphatsoe. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) has welcomed Deputy Defence Minister and Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK) Military Veterans Association chair, Kebby Maphatsoe's apology to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela for accusing her of being a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) spy.

After meeting with some of the party's top members, Maphatsoe retracted his statement on Tuesday, but he said he's still concerned about Madonsela's conduct.

Earlier this week the Maphatsoe also accused the Public Protector of trying to destroy the ANC, President Jacob Zuma and destabilise the country.

The ANC's Gwede Mantashe says, "It's a good thing to do. We didn't instruct him, we engaged him and he appreciated it's a good thing to do."

Madonsela's office says she's currently in Zambia and has not yet seen the apology.

Her office has increased the pressure on him by writing a second letter which asks to provide evidence of his claims or officially retract his statement.

Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters' (EFF) have accused Maphatsoe of hypocrisy and have called for him to step down immediately.

In a statement, the party says Maphatsoe denied in Parliament on Tuesday that he had accused the Public Protector of being a CIA spy, but later went on to retract his remarks and apologise.

Maphatsoe told Members of Parliament (MPs) the journalist who wrote the newspaper article reporting the claims had admitted to him that he was not present at the event where the remarks had apparently been made.

"The journalist who published that article in The Star on Monday was not at that event."

At the same time, government has moved to distance itself from the issue, saying Maphatsoe was speaking in his personal capacity.

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