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Public Protector's office inundated with over 1,500 cases

Thuli Madonsela believes that the lack of resources in her office is unconstitutional & wants to challenge it.

FILE: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was part of a panel discussion on governance accountability and reputation management in Sandton on 23 June 2015. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has said her office is dealing with more than 1,500 cases that have been under investigation for over a year, and she believes her office is under resourced.

On Friday, Madonsela applauded the role of civil society in upholding the country's constitution and asked them to protect chapter nine institutions.

She was speaking at a breakfast in Sandton on the current state of South Africa.

Madonsela believes that the lack of resources in her office is unconstitutional and called for this to be challenged in court.

"For me it's a constitutional violation and that's where civil society could step in in terms of activism, including possibly taking the state to court."

The Public Protector said many of the cases that are not being attended to have potentially huge implications for the country.

"We're complaining right now about Eskom and we've asked ourselves what of that problem could have been averted. We're sitting on an investigation on Medupi, Kusile."

Madonsela said while her office mostly takes up cases based on complaints they also institute investigations proactively.

CIA SPY CLAIMS

Madonsela on Friday said the State Security Agency (SSA) must identify the person who posted on social media sites and a blog that she is a CIA spy.

Madonsela said she has never been contacted by the agency to confirm she is being investigated and doesn't know how far the probe has progressed.

A few months ago the Umkhonto we Sizwe military veterans league president accused Madonsela of having a handler from the US agency.

She said it's a waste of government resources to investigate her.

"Of course finding out who started that blog could be a good use of resources because it is a cyber-crime. You might want to know why they do that, have they done it before or will they do it to other people."

In March, the SSA said Madonsela did ask government to probe claims she was a spy for the CIA.

Madonsela had earlier said she would never have asked the agency to probe the claims, as she had been told they were the people looking for dirt on her.

The SSA said it must investigate the claims that were first made on a website, that hasn't offered any evidence to support them.

The agency's Brian Dube said while Madonsela may not have mentioned the state security by name, there was a request directed to government for these claims against her to be investigated.

"Her spokesperson indicated that they have raised this issue and asked crime intelligence to look into the issue. We all know crime intelligence is a member of the intelligence community."

He also said he didn't understand why Madonsela would believe this probe is a bid to either suspend her or to tap her communications.

The Public Protector told Eyewitness News she believed the SSA may only be investigating these claims to create a situation in which she could be suspended.

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