The Umkhonto we Sizwe military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) claim that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is a CIA plant are “unfortunate”, the ANC said on Monday.
“The ANC believes that the exchange is extremely unfortunate. However the ANC has no information at its disposal to comment further on the matter,” spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.
“As the ANC, we reaffirm our support and confidence in the institutions established to promote and safeguard our democracy, notably the Office of the Public Protector.”
He said the African National Congress believed that people who led such institutions should be able to conduct their work without fear or favour.
The Star reported on Monday that MKMVA chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe had accused Madonsela of being a CIA plant.
However, at a press briefing later in the day, the MKMVA denied the statement.
“He did make reference to the possibility of a CIA machination in an attempt to destabilise the country,” Maphatsoe’s special adviser Ike Moroe told reporters in Johannesburg.
“[However] nothing is impossible… from the international intelligence community.”
Madonsela has reportedly threatened legal action unless he retracts the claim and apologises, or provides irrefutable proof of it.
She has come under attack from the ANC and some alliance structures since sending a letter to President Jacob Zuma last month asking him for details about when he will respond to recommendations in her report on the upgrades to his home at Nkandla, in KwaZulu-Natal.
Opposition parties on Monday condemned Maphatsoe’s remarks.
The Democratic Alliance demanded that Maphatsoe, who is also the deputy minister of defence, withdraw his comments and apologise.
“I will… request the chairperson of the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services,Mathole Motshekga, to summon the deputy minister before the committee to provide substantiation for these serious allegations,” DA MP Werner Horn said in a statement.
“If the deputy minister fails to provide proof to support his claims, swift action must be taken against him to prevent these kinds of fabrications from happening in future.”
Earlier, Maphatsoe said MK members had been trained to spot “enemy agents”.
“We know how foreign intelligence works and we are not just thumbsucking. We’ve got those [sic] expertise amongst us and we not taking chances,” he said.
“We have people who were in the intelligence of the African National Congress [who are] able to identify enemy agents…”
The United Democratic Movement said Maphatsoe’s comments were “distasteful”.
“The sounds coming from the peanut gallery are a desperate attempt at discrediting a constitutional body that is doing its job properly,” UDM secretary general Bongani Msomi said in a statement.
It was unbecoming of Maphatsoe to make such a comment, especially because he was a deputy minister, Msomi said.
The Congress of the People said Maphatsoe’s comments were dangerous and called on him to provide proof.
“Cope is calling upon him to come forward with evidence and proof of his allegations on the public protector,” spokesperson Dennis Bloem said.
“If he can’t, then we will call upon the president to remove him from his position immediately.”
The party said if Maphatsoe was not stopped he would cause more harm to the country’s already dented image.