Government supports Public Protector

8 July 2011

The Presidency has reiterated the government’s commitment and support to the work and office of South Africa’s Public Protector.

In a statement on Thursday, the Presidency noted “with concern continued media reports that suggested the Office of the Public Protector was threatened and was being undermined.

“The Public Protector has an important role to play in our constitutional democracy and should be respected and given the space to do its work,” the Presidency said.

Media reports earlier this week claimed that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela would be arrested on charges of fraud, allegedly committed while she worked as a commissioner at the SA Law Commission four years ago.

Madonsela denied the claims and said in a press conference on Wednesday that there were no documents showing that she had committed any fraud.

The Presidency said the Public Protector, as an institution of state, should be allowed to do its work without fear or favour and without hindrance.

“While the Presidency recognises that no person is above the law, any law enforcement agency established through our Constitution should be free to do its work within the framework of the law,” it said.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe has stressed that his department had made no request to the SA Police Service to investigate or act against Madonsela.

“I am satisfied that the conduct of the Public Protector, in relation to what had to be investigated – whether or not there was a duty to disclose or that she was operating a profitable business entity – did not constitute a violation of any prescripts or laws,” Radebe said in a statement on Thursday.

“At no point did the department, during the inquiry, report the matter externally to any law enforcement agency for criminal investigation,” Radebe said. “If at all there is any investigation against the Public Protector, the Justice Department is not a complainant.”

An internal Department of Justice inquiry, launched against Madonsela after her appointment to the South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) in 2007, had found she had not violated any prescripts or laws.

“This means the inquiry is closed,” Radebe said.

Source: BuaNews