Don't get offended by questions: Madonsela

2011-12-09 22:44

Johannesburg - Public sector authorities should not be offended when citizens question decisions or alleged corruption, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said on Friday.

"We should not be offended. It's a culture that says we don't want to be accountable," she told an anti-corruption summit in Johannesburg.

"We have to have the humility to answer the questions because accountability is an important part in the fight against corruption."

She said the public sector was the largest provider of employment and it had become the most vulnerable to corruption.

Delegates heard that citizens needed to be empowered to know what questions to ask and who to question.

They also had a right to know why certain decisions were made and what influenced those decisions, Madonsela said.

Breeding ground for corruption

"People deserve to know why you made one decision instead of another. People should also know what influenced the decision."

Madonsela said transparency was extremely important and noted that maladministration created a breeding ground for corruption.

"We are all responsible for what is happening. We either get involved in it... or we look the other way. If we have corruption, it boils down to the way our society has become."

Speaking metaphorically about an animal farm, she said the behaviour of the "animals" was troubling.

"In addition to cheating the other animals... of food, their explanation for eating all the food was that they were eating it for you...

"They said they needed to be well fed and looked after so that they could govern properly."

Madonsela said the reality was that the others were working hard and starving.

"I'm using animal farm as a metaphor for people who misappropriated public funds or have been involved in the abuse of state resources.

Bilateral crime

"They call upon the very poor to defend them, claiming that they are now being persecuted."

She said accountability and strong leadership was crucial in efforts to defeat corruption.

"Where there is abuse of power and abuse of state resources, corruption thrives," she said.

"We need strong leaders for good governance and they must have consistency."

Weak systems also needed to be fixed.

The public protector explained that corruption was a bilateral crime that took "two to tango".

"If people in government are corrupt, with whom are they being corrupt?"

She stressed that all individuals involved in such crimes should suffer the consequences and not just the public servants.

One of the most common forms of corruption was bribery.

She said often people who abused power ended up appealing to the poor they wronged.

Madonsela encouraged efforts by individuals and groups in fighting corruption and applauded the media for its role.

  • Geronimo - 2011-12-09 22:56

    Viva Thuli, viva! Keep up your anti-corruption crusade!

      Pieter - 2011-12-10 08:10

      Give this Girl a Bells.She devise the saying of "If you can't beat them join them". She can maybe one day replace old Showerhead.

  • Mark - 2011-12-09 22:57

    Don't back down.

  • Christelle - 2011-12-09 23:02

    Don't let them stop you. You, not them, have the country behind you!! You are uniting this country like the '95 world cup did!!!!

      Azande - 2011-12-09 23:16

      talking about " 95 world cup". it was an awesome event for the nation. Had to concur there. but the subject is MADONSELA.

  • Lynn - 2011-12-09 23:06

    Brilliant. Keep up the good work. You are a shining example.

  • Azande - 2011-12-09 23:13

    VIVA Madonsela, U are our only hope in the public sector. Please watch yo back because these mafias are definitely having their seats thorny now and they wont mind to take u down.

      Christelle - 2011-12-09 23:26

      Ditto - there is no doubt trouble is coming her way - sadly so though!!!

      Azande - 2011-12-09 23:43

      the problem is, most of them are tangled in a corruption web and Madonsela is closing the loop slowly but damn surely. Everyone now is measuring the space between his back and the wall.

  • Dave - 2011-12-09 23:28

    We, the taxpayers must protect this lady from the venal, politically connected, opportunists who wish to keep their criminal acts secret.

      Christelle - 2011-12-09 23:34

      The only way she can be protected after the axe has fallen (and I think we are all in agreement that it is coming) is for her to join an opposition party.....

      Gungets - 2011-12-10 07:05

      Christelle - I hope our good lady remains politically non-aligned. Every political party and public official needs to be open to scrutiny. Investigations into all parties, such as the DA in Midvaal and the happenings in the Western Cape (Hout Bay, the toilet saga and others) need to be scrutinised and understood. I don't agree "that it is coming" because the more support she has from us the harder it will be to target her. I know what you mean, but you should have noticed that it is getting tougher for government to just do as it pleases, Ms Madonsela is helping with that, we need to add strength to her arm.

  • Michael - 2011-12-09 23:39

    This woman is a breath of fresh air. This government of ours is starting to realy stink, taking advantage of an illiterate electorate with promises it can't and won't fulfill.The DA should focus on getting the truth hrough to these voters.

      Christelle - 2011-12-09 23:42

      That was the reason for the info bill Michael - to keep the truth away from their own uneducated supporters. They are trying to save face!! As for the rest - we know the truth.

  • Azande - 2011-12-09 23:46

    we have to support this woman. the least we can do is to insist on having her office capacitated more. In Limpopo, they have only two offices hence that province has five departments put under administration for mismanagement of funds. There, corruption is a normal day activity. i heard in Limpopo they sell tender specification documents on the streets and police just pass by without seeing anything funny.

      Christelle - 2011-12-09 23:51

      Azande, there is only one way to dis-empower the ruling party and ensuring that people like Madonsela always have a voice. And you know what that is.....

      Azande - 2011-12-10 11:41

      Vote DA? No way sorry Christelle. I will stick with my ANC and strive to rid the rubbish within it.

  • Jabu - 2011-12-10 00:08

    you rock,Thuli...

  • Neil - 2011-12-10 00:27

    How long until she is silenced?, one way or another. there are too many ANC fingers in the pie to let her continue.

      craigtjames - 2011-12-10 02:20

      And that is the question we all ask Neil. Before the leadership elections next year?

  • Helene - 2011-12-10 02:28

    Thuli Madonsela for President of South Africa!!!

  • Colette du Plessis - 2011-12-10 03:47

    Thank you Thuli! very well said!

  • Gregory Jurgens - 2011-12-10 05:46

    Bravo. Thuli u are a rose among the thorns. I take my hot off to U.

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2011-12-10 06:08

    Thuli is certainly a South African to be proud of. However, there is so much talk about fighting corruption but very little action. Government officials steal from us on a daily basis. What are the consequences? It almost seems as if they encourage and protect each other. In that famous Cabinet and Parliamentary handbook there should be penalty clauses: If you take as much as 1c from the people of S.A., you will be (a) compelled to pay it back (b) be expelled from office and (c)forfeit all your pension, medical, housing and other benefits. But us, the informed public, just sit back and let the ANC take as much as they want for themselves. The poor, uninformed public are the ones that suffer most. We, the informed public, even allow these government crooks to write the rules that should keep them in check, themselves. So, by doing nothing, we are also guilty.

  • Thabang - 2011-12-10 06:18

    The support she needs is our constant articlation of our believe in good governance.We must show support in all kinds of "acceptable" manners.She is our PILLAR of hope at this juncture!!!

  • simonie.s.balt - 2011-12-10 06:33

    I think Thuli should be president!!

  • Gerd - 2011-12-10 06:38

    It hit me like a lightning bolt when I read the story: I totally forgot about George Orwell's novel "Animal Farm" (published in 1945), I think it really shows a picture of South Africa of today. When the animals chased away the farmers, to rule themselves, all animals were equal, but sooner or later, an elite developed, and suddenly, some animals were more equal than others .... I can see by the wording, that not even the editor who wrote the story above, knows the novel. By the way, did anybody got stuck on the highway yesterday, when some of the more equals (blue light brigade) crashed into each other on the N1 South close to Stormvoel Offramp?

  • Vic - 2011-12-10 06:45

    What an incredible woman, who tells it like it is, and is getting phenominal support from the public! Only concern is that she has a mammoth task ahead of her, trying to eliminate corruption, which is rife at all levels of government.

  • Phumezo - 2011-12-10 08:16

    As much as we respect the office of the PP but we cant help noticing the racial undertones driven by self hate running it. We should move away from the notion that only black people are corrupt! Ever since that office started I have yet to see her taking any initiative against the scrupoulus and filthy white executives who day in and day out exploit the poor and the working class. Her agenda has been to persue the interests of the surbuban middleclass driven by white fears against black leadership rather than the interests of the poor that matter most in this country! We need a serious relook of this office come September policy conference next year in Mangaung!

      Bigrp - 2011-12-10 09:10

      Like I said on another thread earlier this week; rather be thought a fool than opening your mouth and putting it beyond doubt...the PUBLIC Protector's mission is to investigate the dealings of the state (, not the private sector!

      kathy.abrahams - 2011-12-10 09:21

      Phumezo don't let rascism cloud your judgement. She took on the DA in Midvaal when mismanagement was brought to her attention. This woman is good for our country. She wants to stop the massive river of money flowing into individual pockets - from us the taxpayers, instead of the money going to lighten the burden of the poor.

      Azande - 2011-12-10 11:49

      I'm disappointed Phumezo. Do a little reading before posting uninformed comments in a public forum. Check the mandate of the PP and get enlightened otherwise f**k off. Yo lack of thoughtfulness and ignorance to reading is disgracing the black nation. Pulling race irrelevantly isn’t cool my brother.

  • Jacqui - 2011-12-10 09:55

    I wonder how long she will still have her job.

  • skantsm - 2011-12-10 10:17

    Skants @skantsg: Thuli at this rate, I've no doubt you are sure going to be replaced by someone who will not get involve in it as you do but will ALWAYS look the other way. Keep up the good work no matter what. I'm sure the nation is behind you. VIVA!!!!!!

      Azande - 2011-12-10 11:51

      we will have to stand up and fight the removal should it happen.

  • loftycrane - 2011-12-10 10:52

    Thuli for president!

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