The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development rejects the Sunday Times (dated 14 October 2012) front page article with a headline “Public Protector under attack”.
The Committee denies suggestions in the Sunday Times that only ANC MPs questioned the Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela. Opposition MPs also asked difficult, searching questions as is the norm. Among others, for example, the Cope MP asked the Public Protector whether Higher Education and Training Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande and other public members, like Mr Julius Malema, were justified in their claims that her Office selectively chose investigations in order to serve a particular perceived political objective.
The Committee was merely performing its oversight role on 12 October 2012 when its Members questioned the Public Protector during her presentation of her Office’s annual report for 2011/12. The Committee’s engagement with the Public Protector’s Office was no different to its engagement with Legal Aid South Africa (LASA), The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) or the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), all of whom were subjected to a “grilling” by Committee Members.
Anyone present at last Friday’s meeting would confirm that the Public Protector was not at any time “under attack”. Even other journalists who covered the meeting would confirm this. It must be pointed out that no ANC MP questioned Adv. Madonsela’s integrity, as was reported in the Sunday Times.