Public Protector Madonsela unperturbed by criticism

PUBLIC Protector Thuli Madonsela is unperturbed by criticism regarding her decision to attend a Women's Day event organised by the Democratic Alliance.

Madonsela told an internal audit conference in Johannesburg yesterday that her presence at the meeting in Port Elizabeth last week was based on her constitutional duty to be accessible to the public.

"We meant to convey a message that we do not care who you are affiliated to, you will get our service because you are citizens and residents of South Africa.

" In future when women, workers, people with disabilities or any special interest group affiliated to or associated with political party invite me, must I decline?" she asked.

She said although the event was organised by the women's wing of the opposition party, it was not a political event but a workshop on women's constitutional rights and the availability of her office to exact the State's accountability for delivery of those rights.

ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga criticised Madonsela's "ill-considered" decision to attend the event where she "rubbed-shoulders" with DA leaders.

Motshekga said attending and giving keynote addresses at political events of political parties had the potential to compromise the basic constitutional principles of impartiality and independence which her office must uphold.

Madonsela however said the meeting was also part of her current National Stakeholder Consultative Dialogue and "an opportunity to reach out to some 700 ordinary women, mostly drawn from poverty stricken parts of Port Elizabeth and neighbouring areas". - nhlabathih@sowetan.co.za

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