Public protector not a court of law - Madonsela

2016-04-07 17:00
(Thulani Gqirana, News24)

(Thulani Gqirana, News24)

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Parliament – Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is seemingly not letting her new found power go to her head.

Following a meeting with Parliament’s justice committee on Thursday, where some MPs lauded her office for its work, Madonsela said they had not been elevated to a court of law. They were however still an institution of a unique nature, she said.

Madonsela was vindicated recently when the Constitutional Court ruled that the powers of her office were binding.

The Constitutional Court last week ruled that Zuma had failed to uphold the Constitution when he did not comply with Madonsela’s remedial actions regarding the non-security upgrades to his Nkandla homestead.

She said, following the judgment, that they were now looking for the best ways of going forward.

"Our point is, we are not going to lean too much on our hot power. With such hot power comes fear, and that’s not what we want.

"We want to be bound by a vision of a caring South Africa, that is bound by Ubuntu and that seeks to improve the quality of life."

Powers of her office

While the Nkandla issue was raised and dismissed in the committee, MPs said more clarity had been given on the powers of the public protector.

ANC MP Loyiso Mpumlwana told the Public Protector that she had not even known the extent of her powers before the judgment, to which Madonsela replied: "All I can say is, I’ve never been confused about the powers of the public protector. We need a different forum to discuss what happened, but the person who presented a distorted view in Parliament knows the truth."

In future, those found not to be implementing the remedial actions as proposed by the Public Protector would be in contempt, Madonsela later told journalists.

She said there were provisions in the Public Protector Act for people to be found to be in contempt.

They were in the process of creating rules regarding proper procedure, but a person would be called in to explain themselves, she said.

"Even though we have these powers, we will still be appealing to government about what’s right and what’s wrong."

Madonsela’s term ends in October this year, and she is looking forward to taking a 15-month holiday before going back to her studies, she said.

Read more on:    thuli madonsela  |  politics  |  parliament 2016

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