Thuli Madonsela-The (public) protector of our nation
By Madimabe Tebele
The Office of the Public Protector has varied functions and responsibilities, which include the investigation of any form of maladministration, abuse of power, improper enrichment and receipt of improper advantage. Her Office is well-recognised for its efforts in investigating reports ranging from shortages of-and incorrect supply of schoolbooks by the National Department of Basic Education to Eastern Cape schools, to the investigating into alleged improper salary deductions implemented by the Auditor-General of South Africa.
Thuli Madonsela’s Office is currently under fire for investigating the “improper enrichment and receipt of improper advantage” of what has commonly become known as Nkandla, the private residence of President Jacob Zuma. The Public Protector released the Nkandla report following a two year investigation on the 19th of March 2014.
It is a pity that even after more than two months since the Public Protector and her Office has released the report, the only response from the ANC has been that of disrespect and a public campaign of harassment of her in person and her Office. In recent weeks, the media has reported to the public that the ANC is taking the Office of the Public Protector to court. What saddens me (and I assume also many of my fellow South Africans) is that Chapter 9, Section 181 of the Constitution of South Africa clearly states that the Public Protector is subject only to the Constitution (which is the supreme law of the Republic) and so stipulate that her Office is independent of government and any political party. No person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of the Public Protector's Office.
It is clear that Luthuli House does not wish to understand this part of the Constitution, because if it did, the court proceedings and subsequent waste of money would not be happening at all. It is about time that the ANC understands that no organisation or individual is above the law.
George Orwell once said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”, indeed it is. May the Office of the Public Protector continue to do the good work it does and continue to serve all South Africans and uphold the principles upon which our Constitution is founded. How lucky are we as South Africans to have a Public Protector that we can be proud of and also who has been acknowledged for her efforts by being one of Times International’s 100 most influential people in the world, that is an accolade well-deserved for what she has done for the South African public. To all public officials in South Africa, if you were wondering whom to look up to for inspiration in carrying out your daily official duties, you don’t have to look far. Her name is Adv. Thulisile Madonsela.