29 August 2014

South Africa: Madonsela v ANC - the High Road v the Road to Nowhere

Photo: Werner Beukes/SAPA
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela (file photo).


Public Protector Thuli Madonsela need not have addressed a media briefing on her current spat with the ANC. The public was not demanding answers from her; there were no substantial accusations about her conduct - only the ANC's criticism that she undermined the parliamentary process by writing to President Jacob Zuma on Nkandla - and there was no real need for her to explain her powers and role. She did so anyway.

The effect is that public opinion has swayed even more in her favour and the ANC will be even angrier and more combative. There is only one person who can defuse the situation now. But it is not in his interest to do so.

When ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe decided he was going to put Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in her place, the first thing he should have done is his homework. You cannot accuse a person like her, with an impeccable reputation and commitment to ethical conduct, of sneaking into Parliament to collude with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) without checking basic things. Was she in Cape Town? Was she at any publicised engagement that could expose the accusation as being stupid and...

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