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Govt leaves Maphatsoe to fend for himself

Govt says Kebby Maphatsoe was speaking in his own capacity when he labelled Thuli Madonsela a CIA spy.

Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans' Association (MKMVA) chairman Kebby Maphatsoe. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Government has now moved to distanced itself from comments made by Deputy Defence Minister and Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK) Military Veterans Association chair, Kebby Maphatsoe that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is a Central intelligence Agency (CIA) spy.

Government said Maphatsoe was speaking in his personal capacity.

After meeting with top ANC members, the deputy defence minister has since retracted his statement.

He however says that he and MK veterans are still concerned about Madonela's behaviour and conduct.

His spokesperson said, "The deputy said that the statements were misunderstood, withdraw them and would like to apologise to the Public Protector. He however further said the behaviour and conduct of the Public Protector remains a source of concern."

Madonsela's office says she is 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.

Madonsela's spokesperson Oupa Segalwe says the second letter relates to statements Maphatsoe made on Monday at a media briefing, saying she wants to destroy the African National Congress (ANC) and president.

"The fact that she has written to him again doesn't mean it's a separate matter. It's still the same matter. He has to respond to that within 72 hours of receipt of the initial letter."

MAPHATSOE CALLED AN IDIOT

Maphatsoe has also been called an idiot for his alleged remarks.

The insult was delivered by Democratic Alliance (DA) MP David Maynier, who was ordered to leave the house on Tuesday afternoon after he refused to withdraw it.

Earlier in the day DA Parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane slammed Maphatsoe's reported comments, which have now sparked a diplomatic row.

Economic Freedom Fighters' (EFF) leader Julius Malema and chief whip Floyd Shivambu accused Maphatsoe of lying to Parliament but were also ordered to withdraw their statements - which they eventually did.