‘My work is foolproof’: Protector
Pretoria - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said on Monday she had been consistent and objective in her decisions, and would not mind having her work reviewed.
She told reporters in Pretoria she would not be swayed by allegations of bias and misconduct reportedly made by her deputy, Mamiki Shai.
“All I do is to investigate proper conduct in state affairs. If I do find improper conduct, I say so. I do so bearing in mind that I may be taken on review,” she said.
“When I make decisions, I make sure that I’m consistent in terms of my previous decisions. I also make sure that the decisions are in line with facts in the report and the legal framework.”
She was reacting to a Sunday Times report on claims, attributed to Shai, that she, among other things, changed the findings of a report into alleged maladministration in the Democratic Alliance-led Midvaal municipality, and deliberately withheld its release until after the May 2011 municipal elections.
The results of the Midvaal probe were announced in November 2011.
Madonsela said: “From where I am sitting, I have never made a decision which I cannot justify, or that can't be justified by the report itself.
“I challenge you as journalists to read the reports, especially the one on Midvaal, which has the most absurd of allegations.”
Madonsela said she had delegated Shai to lead the investigations into the Midvaal complaint. The final report was presented to her only after the elections, she said.
“For one to say I sat on that report to ensure that the DA wins in Midvaal is really mischievous, but it must be tested. We work through a memo system in our offices, which indicates when a report was handed to me,” she said.
“Reports are not thrown at you as you walk through the door. I think people should read the 1/8Midvaal 3/8 report and then ask whoever is accusing me what was in that report, that I removed which makes the final report unjust.”
She said she wanted the African National Congress in Midvaal to be part of the investigation into the allegations of her bias.
Madonsela inherited Shai as her deputy when she took over from the previous public protector Lawrence Mushwana.
Turning to her finding on the Western Cape government's contentious awarding of a R70 million contract to advertising agency TBWA, Madonsela said she had made her decision based on facts.
“I’m a lawyer. I know that on review the jurisprudence, at this stage, says a court of law will reject my findings if it believes a reasonable public protector, faced with the same facts and laws, would not have arrived at the same conclusion,” she said.
“Having looked at senior counsel and representations before me, I re-visited the legal finding. All that they (the Western Cape government) had violated was a Treasury guide.”
The unlawful action was not like rigging a tender or inflating a price.
“The unlawful part there was a disputed matter, that the premier’s adviser was included in a committee.”
Madonsela said there were inconsistencies within the Treasury guide.
“I made what I still believe was the most reasonable finding I could make in the circumstances. If anyone thought I was wrong the best thing was to take me on review.” - Sapa