As we’ve seen, Thuli’s got game

2011-07-16 10:09

Public protector Thuli ­Madonsela is the most powerful woman in South Africa right now, and she played a masterful political game to get there.

Madonsela was recently roughed up by her enemies, which she always knew she had, and who were finally showing what they think of her nosey forays into their private affairs.

Even before the afternoon edition of The Star – where the allegations first surfaced – hit the streets, political role-players started pledging their support.

The very police who were said to be investigating her were the first to distance themselves from the allegations, with Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa vowing to get to the ­bottom of what happened.

National police commissioner General Bheki Cele vowed to protect her from anyone who tries to ­interfere with her work, even though he is himself a target of one of her ­investigations.

President Jacob Zuma, who also suffered at Madonsela’s hand when she declared he broke the law by not declaring his business interests, came out in support of her shortly after the allegations surfaced.

That he felt the need to pre-empt fingers pointing at him says a lot about him, not about Madonsela.

In fact, to find a politician or ­government official willing to be critical (and on-the-record) about Madonsela is like trying to find a white ­person who supported ­apartheid. Not possible.

Madonsela played a good game. Not crying wolf when the two police officers came to “collect documents” from her office – it became known in civilian-speak as a police raid – won her many brownie points.

So when she publicly complained that she was worried about her ­safety and independence, she was taken seriously, as the steady stream of press releases in support of her show.

To top it all, she cleverly negotiated the curveball of “you only investigate the ANC” by announcing that she will also reopen investigations into dodgy tenders and wrongdoing during apartheid.

This investigation may not amount to much but it sends a ­powerful message that no one ­escapes Madonsela.

After the allegations surfaced she did not, like many before her, run for cover, switch off her cellphone and stay locked up in her office. She did exactly the opposite.

She was available to newspapers and TV shows, sporting her elegant but far from extravagant blue jacket and single string of pearls.

She told the world she was scared and fearful, but the woman we saw looked like she knew the power was now with her. She has the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re on the right side of the law.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.