Public Protector power struggles

2013-05-12 14:00

This week’s public spat between Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and her new deputy, Kevin Malunga, doesn’t bode well for the future of the organisation.

Madonsela has transformed the office from a mediocre chapter 9 institution to the prime corruption-fighting machine in the country.

Although her office doesn’t have powers to arrest and prosecute, she and her staff have been pivotal in fighting the scourge of public sector fraud, corruption and bad governance.

The last thing Madonsela needs to spend time and money on now is a silly squabble with her deputy.

Shortly after his appointment at the end of last year, Malunga said: “I am fired up?.?.?.?I am humbled and honoured to join an organisation that is enjoying unprecedented public confidence. I would like to assure the Public Protector that I am here to walk this journey with her.”

This was five months ago. This week Malunga took it upon himself to write letters to Parliament, distancing himself from Madonsela’s robust engagement with ANC MP John Jeffery about her office’s power – a far cry from walking the journey with Madonsela.

Instead of writing sycophantic letters to politicians, dissing his boss and pledging his respect to Parliament, Malunga should get his hands dirty with the real stuff Madonsela’s legacy is built on – hard work, irrespective of who the subjects are.

If Malunga is not willing to walk the talk, he should leave.

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