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06 July 2011 at 21:59 - Posted by Anonymous

Protector fraud claims 'intimidation'


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Johannesburg - Claims of fraud and corruption against Public Protector Thuli Madonsela are an attempt to intimidate and stop her from investigating the police, several organisations said on Wednesday.

"We call upon all South Africans, who care about the rule of law and the Chapter Nine institutions, to join together in defence of the public protector," the Council for the Advancement of the Constitution (Casac) said in a statement.

SA Women Lawyers' Association (Sawla) president Noxolo Maduba said the claims were a ploy to distract her from releasing reports on alleged wrongdoing in leases for police headquarters in Pretoria and Durban for R500m and R1.1bn respectively.
In her preliminary report, Madonsela found Cele guilty of maladministration for his role in the leases.

The Law Society of SA called on National Police Commissioner General Bheki Cele and on Justice Minister Jeff Radebe to probe the matter "speedily" and report back to the public protector and the public in a transparent way.

Casac said the allegations against Madonsela needed to be tested by the justice system.

"...the onus will be on the prosecuting authorities, including the police, to demonstrate that her prosecution was in the public interest and had nothing to do with her investigation into the probity of the SAPS in the procurement of accommodation in Pretoria and Durban."

The Star reported on Wednesday that police planned to arrest Madonsela over a R1.8m payment made by the SA Law Reform Commission to a company she owned, while she worked for the commission three years ago.

The paper cited unnamed sources. The police said they would not comment and Madonsela denied the allegations.

At a press briefing on Wednesday she said she received R30 000, R7 000 and R3 000 for work her company did for the commission. She also appointed an executive director for her company when she started working at the commission.

‘Police abusing power’

However, there was a disagreement over her request that her salary at the commission be paid into her company account for tax purposes. She had felt there was "no impediment", but the parties did not agree.

The SA Revenue Service declined to comment on whether it was investigating Madonsela, saying it was bound to protect the private details of taxpayers.

The DA said reported plans to arrest her were part of intimidation attempts, if the allegations against her were untrue.

"There is thus already a clearly established pattern of intimidation of anybody who has been involved in finding or exposing wrongdoing on the part of the [SA Police Service]," DA MP Debbie Schafer said.

She was referring to the arrests of Sunday Times journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika, who wrote about the leases, and a Mpumalanga government employee Victor Mlimo. Charges were withdrawn against both.

"It is too coincidental that these allegations against the public protector are now surfacing," said Schafer.

The African Christian Democratic Party said it would ask Parliament to investigate the source of the criminal complaint against Madonsela.

"Because the public protector is accountable to, and must be protected by Parliament, the ACDP calls upon the Speaker to urgently investigate the source of this criminal complaint, whether there is substance to the allegations, or to ascertain whether it amounts to intimidation of the public protector.

Civil rights group AfriForum said Cele owed the country "some answers".

"Cele should not only comment on SAPS' lease agreements, but also give reasons why it seems increasingly as if SAPS is abusing its power to target people who investigate the activities of senior members of the police," chief executive Kallie Kriel said.

- SAPA

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