NUMSA commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the Russian Revolution

MKMVA Chaiperson’s insults against the Public Protector unlawful

9 September 2014, Posted in Press Releases

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is outraged by utterances attributed to the Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans and chairperson of Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) Kebby Maphatsoe; accusing Public Protector Thuli Madonsela of “being a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) plant and of undermining the ANC and the government to create a puppet regime for the United States (US)”.

As a union, we are also not convinced by Maphatsoe’s apparent back-peddling and denial of having accused Madonsela of being “a CIA plant”. In what the Deputy Minister thought was a clever denial of what he is reported to have initially said, he continued to hurl insults at the Public Speaker on SAFM’s Midday Live programme on Monday 08 September 2014; arguing that he never said that Madonsela was “a CIA plant” but that “her actions resemble those of a CIA agent”.

Given the fact that all senior officials in the Public Protector’s office are obliged to sign secrecy declarations and are expected to undergo security clearance and vetting, we find Maphatsoe’s accusations preposterous.

A week before the Deputy Minister who doubles up as a MKMVA chairperson made his utterances, Numsa issued a press statement where the union said that the sustained, savage and vicious attacks directed at the Public Protector from the ANC and the SACP “have now assumed very dangerous conspiratorial connotations”.

In that statement, we were clear that the Public Protector’s findings on Inkandla were fuelling all the fairy tales in ANC and SACP ranks. On a serious note our statement cautioned South Africans that the ANC and SACP leaders’ defence of President Jacob Zuma “at all costs” may “signal an irreversible slide into lawlessness by the ANC and its government”.

How prophetic were we in our statement? Whatever Maphatsoe said, the law is very clear: sections 9 and 11 of the Public Protector Act state that it is an offence to insult the Public Protector or Deputy Public Protector. Any person convicted in terms of the Public Protector Act is liable to a fine not exceeding R40 000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months or to both such fine and such imprisonment. Claims that the Public Protector is “a CIA plant” or “her actions resemble those of a CIA agent” are unlawful. They mark the slide into lawlessness that Numsa’s statement of 29 August 2014 referred to.

While Numsa respects the way the Public Protector has decided to deal with the matter where the Deputy Minister is given 72 hours to produce incontrovertible evidence of his claims or issue a retraction and public apology, as union we believe that the law must take its course. No one is above the law. Kebby Maphatsoe must face the music!

As Numsa we also feel that it is not good enough for the ANC through its National Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa to say that Maphatsoe’s utterances are “unfortunate”. If the ANC wants society to believe what its national spokesperson calls “our support and confidence in the institutions established to promote and safeguard our democracy, the organisation needs to go beyond flimsy description of the MKMVA chairperson’s outburst as “unfortunate”.

The ANC needs to investigate Maphatsoe’s statement and take appropriate action. The organisation cannot just hypocritically wash its hands. It is the actions and statements of certain ANC and SACP leaders that have planted the seeds of hostility and hatred towards the Public Protector and her office. Maphatsoe’s outrageous claims are nothing else but ANC and SACP leaders reaping what they have sown.

For Numsa to stop the rot, the developing personality cult and to curb all the hero-worshipping of the leader; let the law take its course and section 9 and 11 of the Public Protector Act be invoked.

The working class fought hard for democracy and against excesses of state officials. We will not fold arms and be idle when the likes of Kebby Maphatsoe attempt to undermine the institutions that we fought for so bitterly.


Castro Ngobese
National Spokesperson
Mobile (1): 083 627 5197
Mobile (2): 081 0111137
Twitter: @castrongobese