The Methodist Church of Southern Africa threw its weight behind Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.
President of the SA Council of Churches, Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa condemned government officials who had publicly criticised Madonsela in the last few weeks. He called for her office to be respected.
“Attacking the integrity of the office of the Public Protector, an independent constitutionally protected institution mandated to uphold our statutory democracy undermines any democratic gains made thus far,” Siwa said in a statement.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the wilful discrediting of any Chapter 9 institutions, especially by government officials when there exist appropriate channels and processes for grievances to be heard and dealt with.”
He said the country should not fall into the trap of allowing past liberation struggle victories to cloud democratic and lawful processes.
Siwa also called for Madonsela’s recommendations, which came after thorough investigations, to be upheld.
“We further call and urge all implicated in wrongdoing to do the honourable thing and step aside allowing the democratic processes to unfold in the greater interest of the country and her peoples,” he said.
Madonsela has been largely criticised in the last few weeks, with The Star newspaper reporting that Defence Deputy Minister Kebby Maphatsoe, who is also chairperson of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA), had accused her of being a spy, insinuating she worked for the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
He later withdrew and apologised for those comments but added that Madonsela’s behaviour and conduct remained “a source of concern”.
Several weeks ago, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte suggested that Madonsela behaved as if she were superior to the Constitution and Parliament.
Addressing a stakeholder consultative dialogue at the City of Cape Town’s chambers Madonsela gave a reminder that she was empowered to investigate the State.