In January, when profiling the newly appointed deputy public protector Kevin Malunga, Noseweek asked: was he a “cadre” deployment, an apologist for the ANC, a “safe” choice? Perhaps even strategically positioned to help oust the fearless Thuli Madonsela?
Hurt. Shocked. Confused. And stabbed in the back. This is how Public Protector Thuli Madonsela felt, in May this year, when she realised that her new deputy, Kevin Malunga, had written to the parliamentary portfolio committee on justice and constitutional development, behind her back, to dissociate himself from the “unpleasant altercation” between Madonsela and committee members over the powers of the Public Protector in relation to the oversight role of Parliament. “It was baffling,” says Madonsela, as we sit talking in her suite at Cape Town’s Mandela Rhodes Hotel.