Retired public protector Thuli Madonsela should step back from commenting on the state capture report as she has no further role to play in the process, the presidency said on Friday.
Madonsela’s continuing public statements relating to President Jacob Zuma and her recent report are of concern, it added.
“Her unwarranted public attacks on the president, as happened in Stellenbosch on Thursday, are unbecoming and are not helpful,” said presidency spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga.
“It would be prudent therefore, for the former public protector to step back and allow legal and constitutional processes to unfold unhindered.”
At the 15th BEN-Africa Conference in Stellenbosch on Thursday, Madonsela reportedly said it had been her discretion to decide whether to release transcripts and interviews.
“Only PP has right to decide. There is nothing that tells the PP this you may not give out and this you may give out,” she was quoted as saying by the SABC.
“I truly believe it was two rights; right thing to keep some things confidential but also right to tell truth and let the nation decide. I had a choice to issue a media statement to say ‘this person is lying’ but again there are also ethics about calling people liars.”
Ngqulunga said they were concerned by her leaking the audio of her interview with Zuma to a television channel.
“This conduct has serious implications with regards to ethics, confidentiality and the protection of information gathered during investigations by the office of the public protector.”
He said it was not clear why she had only released the audio for the Zuma interview when she had interviewed several witnesses.
The Citizen reported that Madonsela had told the Association of Black Securities Investment Professionals’ annual conference that she did it to demonstrate that Zuma had been given a chance to answer questions during her investigation. He claimed she did not give him the opportunity.
The ANC on Wednesday called on public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane to investigate her predecessor for releasing the audio.
The party wanted to know if Madonsela acted unethically and violated the Public Protector Act, spokesman Zizi Kodwa said.
Zuma had also recently lodged a complaint with Mkhwebane.
“The president urges all parties to act as guided by the constitution and respect the processes that are unfolding in respect of the report,” said Ngqulunga.