Charges against Madonsela a ‘bad start’

Cope has reacted to news that Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane will lay charges against Thuli Madonsela for leaking Zuma recording.

FILE: Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The Congress of the People (Cope) says the decision by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to lay criminal charges against her predecessor Thuli Madonsela is a bad start to her time in office.

According to the Sunday Times, Mkhwebane decided to lay charges against Madonsela following a complaint from President Jacob Zuma about the leak of a recording that was made during the state of capture investigation.

Earlier this month, the former Public Protector admitted to releasing the recording, saying the truth had to be told.

It’s understood police will investigate whether the leak happened in contravention of the Public Protectors Act.

Cope’s Dennis Bloom says it was important for the recording to be released.

Cope is saying that it’s a very bad start for this new Public Protector. Her first case of investigation is her
predecessor – Advocate Madonsela has done nothing wrong by releasing the audio tape. Mr Zuma wanted to lie to the public.”

Meanwhile, political analyst Ralph Mathekga says Mkhwebane’s involvement in the audio tapes battle between President Zuma and Madonsela may compromise the credibility of her office.

Mathekga says Mkhwbane’s involvement in this matter does not only feed into the notion that her appointment was suspicious but it also compromises the integrity of the office she now occupies.

“I don’t understand why the current Public Protector should take sides on this matter, it actually lends credibility to the speculations that have been going around before that the new Public Protector seems to be executive minded.”

At the same time, the Hawks say with information that President Jacob Zuma intends to challenge the remedial action contained in the Public Protector’s State of Capture Report they will need to get legal counsel on how to proceed with the investigation.

The president announced on Friday he will be taking the report’s remedial action on review.

His office says the reasons for Zuma’s decision to challenge it will be made clear in his application for review, which is currently being drafted.

Additional reporting by Victor Magwedze

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)