Corruption Watch has often come out in support of the public protector, Thuli Madonsela, and this week was no exception. Our zero is the deputy minister of defence and military veterans Kebby Maphatsoe, who levelled some serious, and ludicrous, allegations at Madonsela and then the next day, following a massive public denouncement, retracted his statements and apologised half-heartedly.
Speaking at an Umkhonto we Sizwe event on 6 September, Maphatsoe had hinted that Madonsela was in the employ of America’s CIA, and went on to lament the fact that the chapter nine institutions set up by the ANC appeared to now be working against them, and this was part of the CIA agenda.
Despite later denials, his remarks were caught on camera. In terms of sections nine and eleven of the Public Protector Act, insulting the public protector constitutes contempt, an offence which could result in either a fine or imprisonment. Madonsela wasted no time in saying that she would invoke this provision – an action that Corruption Watch supports and would like to see carried through.
The next day the ANC “distanced” itself from Maphatsoe’s statements, which, it said, did not reflect the thinking of the government. Maphatsoe himself also issued a wishy-washy apology, but in the same statement showed that his remarks were not heartfelt when he added that the behaviour of the public protector was of great concern.
Corruption Watch is not taken in by his apparent remorse. Executive director David Lewis commented: “The appropriate way of establishing ‘distance’ is to sack Maphatsoe. Anything less will signal government tolerance and condoning of his thuggish behaviour.”
For his transparent attempts to avoid taking responsibility for his comments, and for making them to begin with, Kebby Maphatsoe is our zero of the week.