Keep state accountable, Thuli Madonsela tells graduates

2013-05-11 09:12

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Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela told thousands of new graduates at the University of Fort Hare that they had a role to play – by keeping the state accountable.

Madonsela delivered the keynote address at the university’s graduation ceremony held at the East London campus in the Eastern Cape yesterday, where she also received an honorary doctorate in law.

“I can indicate that there is a lot you can do to ensure that our state is accountable, operates with integrity at all times and is responsive to all persons and communities. One of the things you could do is to help my office meet its constitutional obligation to be accessible to all persons and communities,” she said.

She said the graduates had a duty to also inform the public about the role of her office and to report wrongdoing in the state.

“You can ensure that you inform all about our services, which is to investigate and redress improper conduct or maladministration in all state affairs. You may also report wrongdoing to my office, whether it’s about service failure or conduct failure, including ethical lapses and corruption,” Madonsela said.

She called on young people to reflect on the state of South Africa’s constitutional democracy and their role in making it even better.

“If we were to consider our democracy as a flame of life, what roles are each of us playing to keep the flame from not only going off but to maintain its vibrancy? Are we doing all we can to help our democracy grow from strength to strength so that it delivers the fruits that those who sacrificed for us expected to be enjoyed by all our people?,” she said.

Speaking on leadership, Madonsela said it was not about occupying a position of power, but about influencing change in pursuit of a desired objective.

Madonsela said she had been inspired to further her studies, too, after receiving the honorary doctorate.

“I am deeply humbled by the honour bestowed by the University of Fort Hare, words cannot express my gratitude.

“I must confess that your awarding me the honorary doctor of laws degree has inspired me to join the predominantly young men and women who are graduating today (yesterday) in pursuing further studies.”

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