Glebelands made me ashamed - Madonsela

2016-09-08 21:06
Thuli Madonsela (File, Beeld)

Thuli Madonsela (File, Beeld)

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Durban – It is every South Africa’s responsibility to help the less fortunate, outgoing Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said on Thursday.

“If my quality of life had not been improved, I would not be standing here before you,” she said, delivering the annual Diakonia lecture at the Diakonia Centre in Durban. 

However, there were many who had not been helped by improvements in the country.

“I was brought up in a Soweto home, as well as in Swaziland. I am now the public protector and we still go back to Soweto, where people will tell you that they have not eaten for three days.”

She was honoured with the 2016 Diakonia Human Rights Award for her extraordinary courage, patriotism, and steadfast opposition to injustice, corruption and maladministration, the centre said.

It is considered the home base for some of South Africa’s most important NGOs, according to its website.

Giving an example of how the society had “dropped the ball”, she referred to Umlazi's Glebelands hostels. Her office visited them a few years ago following several killings. There were no-go zones in the area.

“The living conditions there were totally inhumane. There was water everywhere, and rubbish had not been collected. We were struck by obscene poverty, people are sharing one room. You never imagined that that is how people would live.”

10th recipient

Madonsela said a deal was struck with locals to stop the killings. However, socio-economic issues were not addressed and she found nothing had changed when she returned earlier this year.

“There is no dignity in poverty. When I went to Glebelands I was ashamed of the life I lived.”

Madonsela is the 10th recipient of the annual award. Other recipients include Fatima Meer, Father Michael Lapsley, Desmond D’sa, and Bishop Rubin Phillip.

According to the centre, the purpose of the award is to promote a human rights culture and encourage churches and communities to be actively involved in social justice issues.

It said truth and integrity were some of the words that described Madonsela.

Madonsela was appointed in 2009. Her term of office ends in October.


Read more on:    public protector  |  thuli madonsela

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