SA can't rest on its laurels - Madonsela

2011-10-17 15:30

Pretoria - South Africa's fifth place on the Ibrahim Index was not grounds for the country to rest on its laurels, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said on Monday.

South Africa's score had improved by a mere half-a-percent since 2008, she told the Public Protector's Good Governance Conference in Pretoria.

"It's a good starting point. It's not a cause to relax."

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation's Ibrahim Index of African Governance assesses governance and leadership in African countries.

Accountable

Madonsela said that when South Africa's Constitution was adopted in 1996, those in power had to accept they were not only accountable to Parliament and the courts, but also to Chapter 9 institutions such as the Public Service Commission and the public protector.

"Public power is borrowed. When this power is abused, then the people cannot benefit."

She said there were those who still thought of her office in a "before the Constitution" mindset and failed to accept the reality of its mandate.

"I do not have to be a court of law to ask you questions. I don't have to be a court of law to ask you to correct your actions."

Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma told the conference good governance should not be seen as an end in itself. It needed to improve the lives of citizens.

She said for good governance to be achieved a state needed the capacity to do so. This would be achieved through the recruitment of capable, dependable and flexible public servants.

"We must be wary of people who are just chasing [salary] packages," said Dlamini-Zuma.

- SAPA

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