Special reports by De Wet Potgieter
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is facing a palace revolt amid internal allegations of maladministration, financial misconduct and favouring whites and Indians while regarding her black employees as “too stupid” to do the job.
At the centre of the growing crisis is Madonsela’s CEO Themba Mthetwa, described in a 12-page document handed to Parliament as the polarising factor for the simmering tensions with his “ill considered actions”.
The document, drafted by an anonymous group of employees, was handed to Themba Godi, chairperson of Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa), towards the end of last year.
This resulted in Madonsela being summoned to Cape Town for a marathon meeting on January 13 with the speaker of Parliament, Max Sisulu, the National Council of Provinces chairperson, Mninwa Mahlangu, and both their deputies which lasted more than four hours.
The group behind the document now claims that Parliament is reluctant to intervene in the crisis.
Madonsela again made headlines last month when her daughter Wenzile posted a tweet thanking her brother for crashing their mother’s state-issued BMW X6 because the incident led to the replacement of that car with a “much sexier car”.
When speaking about her daughter’s comments on the social network, Madonsela said she deeply regretted her child’s “playful tweets”. Her 23-year-old son, Wantu, smashed the vehicle in January into a garden wall of a house in Pretoria while illegally taking her official vehicle for a joyride.
“There are various documents which serve as a sample indicator of the noncompliance of policies, legislative prescripts, maladministration, and financial misconduct involving the CEO,” the document submitted to Scopa stated.
“We would like to indicate that ultimately we hold the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela responsible for the current situation. She has chosen to ignore the worrying signs that have corroded the institution and the result is a demoralised, bitter, distrustful complement of staff.”
Some of the grievances listed in the document include:• The responses of the CEO, Mthetwa, to questions asked at the interrogation of the 2008-9 public protector annual report by Scopa on May 21, 2010, were dishonest and fabricated.
“The CEO deliberately misled the committee, at a level that displayed a shocking lack of moral conscience,” the document said.• Although a case management system was procured at a cost of R10m, it is not functional. The staff use a manual system of allocating and locating the status of files. According to the document, monthly statistics take an average of three days for each investigator to finalise.