Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has condemned claims by new public advocate Busisiwe, that her office operated on money from foreign donors and that it had used consultants.
South Africa’s new advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane had in her first meeting with the parliament said she would stop foreign donor funding and the use of consultants.
Briefing MPs on her 2015/16 annual report, advocate Busisiwe she said USAID had donated $500 000 to the office which was used to help complete the controversial document, which President Jacob Zuma and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen do not want released.
She said the office incurred R5-million in irregular expenditure due to consultants by her predecessor.
Reacting to this claims Thuli Madonsela said: “It’s a lie that we used consultants. It’s a blatant lie that we used USAID money, ever”.
Defending her use of consultants to compile her state capture report Madonsela, while speaking with Johannesburg based-radio station Power FM said it was unfair on her to be expected to defend someone else’s report and that it was not for politicians to question how she compiled the report.
USAID also reported that there was nothing inappropriate about its relationship with the Public Protector and that the money it donated to Thuli while she was in office was meant for training of investigators, specifically corruption and fraud detection, alternative dispute resolution and report writing. The intention was to increase their effectiveness.
Speaking further on this, the US embassy spokesperson Cynthia Harvey said the money was donated following discussions with treasury and the justice department to provide “technical assistance” to key areas of the public protector’s five-year strategic plan.
Meanwhile, Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association aired its concern over the matter saying the funding questions Madonsela’s integrity and threaten the Public Protector’s independence.
MKMVA chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe claimed Madonsela had not followed procedure in her “state capture” report. He alleged the report was completed in a hurry and was intended to tarnish President Jacob Zuma’s image and create divisions within the ANC, to suit her funders.
“America cannot fund you without putting their interests first. Thuli Madonsela must explain what were the conditions of the grants that she received from USAID. America does not fund and give grants for nothing. There are always conditions,” Maphatsoe said.
Madonsela, however, insisted that the claim that her office received foreign funding directly. She said the South African government received the money and allocated it to Chapter 9 institutions like the Public Protector, Human Rights Commission, and Auditor-General.