US Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard will launch an official diplomatic complaint about allegations that Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is a CIA plant, his office said on Monday. Embassy spokesman Jack Hillmeyer confirmed Gaspard would lay the complaint, but said he could not give further detail. The Star reported on Monday that Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Kebby Maphatsoe, had accused Madonsela of working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He is also chairman of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA).
“We can’t allow people to hijack the ANC. We’ll fight and defend the African National Congress. uThuliumele asitshele ukuthi ubani ihandler yakhe [Thuli must tell us who her handler is],” Maphatsoe reportedly said at the tombstone unveiling of MK combatant Linda ‘Lion of Tshiawelo’ Jabane in Soweto on Saturday.
“They are even using our institution now… These Chapter Nine institutions were created by the ANC but are now being used against us, and if you ask why it is the Central Intelligence Agency. Ama [the] Americans want their own CEO in South Africa and we must not allow that,” Maphatsoe reportedly said.
At a press briefing later on Monday, the MKMVA denied Maphatsoe had made the statement, but conceded that a reference to the CIA had been made.
Gaspard took to Twitter to reject Maphatsoe’s allegations as “baseless and offensive”.
“We categorically reject the baseless and offensive accusations from the deputy minister and will lodge a complaint through diplomatic channels,” he wrote.
“These comments are unfortunate but inconsequential since they lack all credibility to average [South Africans] who see through smokescreens.
“We’re proud of our transparent partnership with South Africa on health, economic development, peace and security. These are the issues that matter,” he said in a second tweet.
In a third tweet he wrote: “How can a government minister make such scurrilous and political comments at an official event?”