Zuma must indeed do the right thing

2011-07-16 10:17

The recommendations by Public ­Protector Thuli Madonsela regarding the two dodgy police building lease deals worth R1.78 billion, are an ­indication of the lack of leadership and stewardship of the public interest by those elected for the task.

They are also a clear call for public accountability and management from the highest ­office in the country to the ministers and the ­senior ­technocrats.

Though Madonsela uses polite language to ­register her unhappiness with Minister of Public Works Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde’s decision not to co-operate with the Public Protector’s office, her recommendation that President Jacob Zuma take action against her is as clear as daylight. So is the recommendation that Mahlangu-Nkabinde “report to the Cabinet on her actions in relation to the procurement of the leases...and her failure to fully co-operate with the Public Protector”.

It is a logical conclusion after the Public Protector found that the minister “failed to meet the requisite stewardship as was expected of her”.

It was about time that someone with sufficient clout reminded the powers that be that they do not represent their own interests but rather the ­aspirations of South Africans who ask that the managers of their taxes account for their deeds.

With all the legislation around the management of public finances, it says a lot about our public accountability and governance systems that the Public Protector found it necessary to call on the public works department and the police to ensure that appropriate measures were implemented to prevent a recurrence of contraventions of the ­procurement legislation and prescripts.

Police chief General Bheki Cele’s recurrent ­defence that processes were carried out without his knowledge or permission, true or not, add weight to Madonsela’s call that leaders must lead and take responsibility for what happens under their watch. Cele therefore makes no defence when he seeks to blame his underlings for what is nearly a looting of state resources.

Madonsela, ever polite, adds: “I am not ­prescribing what should be done, but I expect the president to do the right thing”. Indeed. The right thing for the president to do is to set the tone for what is expected of public leadership.

It means that those charged with this task should banish the idea that their office means they are above public scrutiny and are entitled to turn the state into their piggy banks.

It is only when the president, the ministers and the chief of police are known to be beyond ­reproach that they can lend moral weight to calls by junior public civil servants to discharge their duties with professionalism and integrity.

Like Madonsela, we expect those in charge to do right.

Join the conversation!

24.com 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.

24.com 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 24.com 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.