How the Public Protector remains motivated

2015-06-11 20:14
(Dan Calderwood, News24)

(Dan Calderwood, News24)

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Cape Town - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says she remains motivated with prayer, meditation and exercise, despite a number of attacks on her work and integrity.

“Firstly, it is to understand that I am not made by Parliament. I occupy an office that is created by the Constitution and my responsibility transcends what Parliament thinks,” she told News24 on Thursday, after receiving her fourth Doctor of Laws degree, this time at UCT.

“I always have to do what I think the Constitution requires me to do and what is required to protect the public.” 

She had recently come under fire from ruling party MPs, during a parliamentary debate of the justice department, who insinuated that she wasted public money on international trips and that she disrespected Parliament, according to the City Press.

Her findings on President Jacob Zuma’s homestead were also seemingly misinterpreted by Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko in his report on additions to Nkandla.

Madonsela said she had to understand the architecture of democracy, where protecting the public may sometimes be against politics of the day, maladministration or unethical conduct.

“And former president Mandela made this point very clear that even the most benevolent of governments have within them the propensity for human failures."

Her office, the courts and others were created to address those weaknesses or those human failures, she said.

Monopoly, chess and cards

At times, the job felt lonely because she did not have individuals with whom she could discuss matters and make sense of things, in the same way that judges did.

But she did not feel that alone because there was “so much solidarity and collegiality” among her office staff.

Her children and family kept her sane. They did not discuss politics or maladministration, she chipped in with a laugh.

When things got tough at the office, she and the staff liked to de-stress with simple games such as Monopoly, chess and cards.

“And all by myself, I read a lot of spiritual things. I pray, I meditate and I exercise. My guilty pleasure I would say is social media. I probably use it a lot more than I should.

“In the early hours of the morning, I could go on for about two hours and that is usually supposed to be my precious time for report writing and editing. That is between 3am and 5am.”

Madonsela assured that she, like others, actually had time to sleep and worked "well on five hours of rest a night".

Listen to the full interview with Madonsela below:

Read more on:    thuli madonsela  |  public protector

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