“On Saturday and Monday, I made statements in my capacity as the national chairperson on behalf of MKMVA about the Public Protector,” Maphatsoe said in a statement on Tuesday.
“After consultation with my organisation, the African National Congress, it would seem as though my statements have been misunderstood and misinterpreted.
“I therefore withdraw those statements and apologise for any offences and hurt that would have been caused,” Maphatsoe said.
The apology came several hours after Maphatsoe told the National Assembly that he did not label Madonsela as a spy working for the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The Star reported on Monday that Maphatsoe, who is also deputy defence and military veterans minister, had accused Madonsela of being a CIA plant.
“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 institutions 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.
Madonsela’s office on Monday said Maphatsoe was given three days to back up his allegations or issue an apology and retract his comments.
If Maphatsoe failed to apologise, Madonsela intended invoking the contempt of the public protector powers in terms of sections nine and 11 of the Public Protector Act 23 of 1994, which states it is a crime to insult the public protector.
In the same statement containing his apology, Maphatsoe said the behaviour and conduct of the public protector remained “a source of concern”.