Parliament justice committee and African National Congress members in parliament have vehemently opposed calls to have them apologize to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela for how she was treated during her 2015 budget presentation in parliament.
In fact, it was another round of mild drama in parliament on Thursday following the moves from the opposition parties. The call was specifically made by Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Werner Horn before Madonsela presented her 2016/2017 budget to the portfolio committee in the morning.
Madonsela’s appearance in Parliament comes two days after the Democratic Alliance’s failed attempt to have President Jacob Zuma impeached in the National Assembly.
“We need to apologize and try and normalize relationships with this very important Chapter 9 institution. We’ve heard from the presiding officer of Parliament; she [Madonsela] has indicated she indeed regrets the personal remarks and personal way the engagements with the Public Protector were conducted with this committee last year,” Horn appealed.
Supporting Horn’s idea, ACDP MP Steve Swart, told the chairperson to apologize to Madonsela for the way she was treated in parliament in 2015. Swart asserted that Madonsela deserves an apology from the committee chairperson because it was in a meeting like this in 2015 that the chairperson slammed Madonsela’s report on Nkandla homestaed.
“We need to apologize to the Public Protector for the manner in which she was treated,” Swart insisted.
Swart threw the parliament justice committee chairperson’s 2015 words back at him, where he had rubbished Madonsela’s report on President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead.
We will recall that when Madonsela appeared in front of the committee in 2015, the ANC gave her cold shoulders and made hostile remarks for her “incomplete presentation”. The defiant protector was also attacked for hours for comments she had made in the public sphere about the powers of her office.
But after listening to DA MP horn, ANC Parliament member Bongani Bongo, rejected the move to apologize to Madonsela, saying there was no need to say sorry.
Bongo asserted thus, “I don’t think we must apologize for anything here. It’s just like when a judgment of a lower court has been dismissed by a higher court, the lower judge is not told he must apologize for the judgment. He just sets aside everything automatically.”
Also, Parliament justice committee chairperson Mathole Motshekga added that care should be taken in order not to pull in disputes and chaos in the meeting. He supported Bongo, asserting that there was no need for the committee to bring up past debates and disputes.
Moving on, Bongo said the committee will not go back to what happened in 2015 and attributed Madonsela’s apology to “when the judgment of the lower court is dismissed by the higher court. We must concentrate on issues in front of us,” he said.
Another ANC MP, Chana Pilane-Majake also supported Bongo saying, “Maybe the DA wants to apologize for something and they should.”