Defend Thuli Mandonsela from attacks but don't immunize her from criticism

2014-04-01 23:59

Following recommendation by Parliament, President Zuma appointed advocate Thuli Madonsela as our Public Protector in 2009.

For the first time since the ANC led government created the Public Protector, all Members of Parliament voted in favor of Thuli's appointment.

The 100% endorsement from a 400 seater Parliament gave hope to South Africans, that them as a Public, they are protected.

Indeed, Thuli has proven to be one of the best appointment Jacob Zuma has made in the first five years of his administration. One just has to look at her investigations.

All of her investigations that involved top ranking politicians became controversial. Floods of criticism went to Thuli's office with attacks at some times.

Top 4 Thuli's controversial Investigations are as follows

Helen Zille Report

In 2012, Thuli Madonsela investigated a multi-million rand communication tender but out by the Western Cape provincial government.

The tender involved Helen Zille, the Premier of the province.

In a leaked Report, Thuli found the tender invalid and recommended its termination

"The inclusion of Ryan Coetzee and Gavin Davis ( Helen's special advisers) in the tender bid was unlawful and was in violation of the Constitution..."

"...failure to employ proper demand management had constituted maladministration and that the Premier's department had incurred fruitless and wasteful expenditure" The Report found

Helen Zille responded by saying she would take Thuli Madonsela to Court. Indirectly blamed her for the leak.

Zille said the provisional report was "fundamentally incorrect in its understanding of the law", and the key finding as "fatally flawed".

" Unless the public protector reviews the findings...would have no option but to take up the findings on review" Zille said through her lawyers' advice.


The other Report is the recent one on SABC's COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Madonsela's report on Motsoeneng, titled "When Ethics Fail", found Motsoeneng's appointment was irregular, as was his salary progression. She found his salary increased from R1.5m to R2.4m in one year.

The SABC or Hlaudi are yet to give a comprehensive response to the Public Protector. But a group of supposedly holy men in Pastor titles had a response.

"Thuli Madonsela is oblivious to the fact that... she is insulting the collective intelligence and wisdom of people who were Mr Motsoeneng's leaders at the SABC and used their discretion and wisdom for his rise through the ranks," said Bishop Pule Makgethi.

"The report is scandalous to say the least"

The Pastors promised to pray for the demons at the Public Protector's office and that the demons there will be cast away. Someone please say AMEN!

THULI's REPORT ON Minister of Agriculture TINA JP.

An R800 Million tender award to Sekunjalo by the Department was found to have constituted maladministration by Thuli Mandonsela.

The Minister has recently gave a surprising response to Thuli Madonsela.

Joemat-Pettersson said she would take the public protector to court to challenge the report.

"I will be asking the [Pretoria] High Court to declare that the report, including the findings and recommendations, [be] reviewed, corrected and/or set aside," she said.

Here Tina gave a similar response to Helen Zille. The only difference is that Helen was speaking after a leaked provisional report. And Tina is speaking after a final report.


This was the most controversial report which dragged for over half of Zuma's first five years.

The Report on Nkandla found that President Zuma did not mislead Parliament when he said all house structures at his Nkandla home were built by him.

But also stated Zuma did not clarify the other two house structure, the Clinic and the Visitor's center the state built.

It also found that President Zuma did not ask or order the non security and non-security upgrades at his home.

It did found that he was aware of the upgrade as he was sometimes informed about what was happening.

An example of the Kraal was made where Zuma agreed to pay because it was a non-security feature.

Using the logic of Zuma agreeing to pay for the Non-security upgraded Kraal; Mandonsela recommended that he pays a reasonable percentage for the non-security features, the Kraal, Chicken run, ampere theatre, visitor's center and the pool, which was said to be a fire pool at first reports.

Thuli said Zuma must pay for he and his family unduly benefited, not from the security upgrades but from the non-security upgrades.

As expected, a loud political uproar erupted from the opposition, the media and the ANC.

NGO's called for Zuma to resign.

Lindiwe Mazibuko pushed for a motion of no confidence on Zuma.

The Media, ran, re-ran and ran Nkandla stories again and again, as politicians feasted on what has replaced their Manifestos going to the elections.

The ANCYL called for Thuli to resign

COSAS called Thuli the woman with a big nose.

SACP questioned Thuli's obsession with the Media

ANC Parliamentary Caucus questioned why Thuli had not submitted the Report to Parliament. That for a motion of no confidence to be debated, as requested by Lindiwe, MPs needed to read the Report.

ANC NEC met and decided to let government deal with Nkandla. "ANC is not mentioned in the Report, so government must deal with it" said Uncle Gweezy Mantashe.

In all of this, we as a public have a responsibility to protect Madonsela because she protects us. We need to defend her from attacks but not immunize her from criticism.

Increasingly, everyone who speaks of the Public Protector's flaws (which she has, though few) is seen as an attacker of her integrity. This is wrong and will do a great injustice to the office of the PP.

Most critics, in the ANC and alliances question Thuli's ever leaking Reports.

The Helen Zille Report leaked

SABC Report leaked

Minister of Agriculture Report leaked

I.E.C (not included on the Blog) Report leaked

Nkandla Report leaked.

Can we really say then, those who complain about the leaks are attacking the office of the PP?

Who leaks these reports?

Did Helen leaked hers, or Hlaudi leak his or Tina or Zuma ?

Or were they leaked from the PP's office ?

We all don't know, any one who questions these leaks then should not be shut down.

Leaking inconclusive reports is a grave injustice to parties involved. This was evident in the Helen's report which almost all Thuli's findings in the final report changed and Helen didn't have to go to court.

Similarly, the provisional report on Nkandla found President Zuma to have misled Parliament. But the final Report found him to have not.

The ANC Parliamentary Caucus complained that Thuli did not submit the Report to Parliament

Section 8 of the Public Protector Act 23 of 1994 regulates the publication of findings by the Public Protector. The relevant provisions read as follows:

"8. (1) The Public Protector may, subject to the provisions of subsection (3), in the manner he or she deems fit, make known to any person any finding, point of view or recommendation in respect of a matter investigated by him or her.

(2)(a) The Public Protector shall report in writing on the activities of his or her office to the National Assembly at least once every year: Provided that any report shall also be tabled in the National council of Provinces.

(b) The Public Protector shall, at any time, submit a report to the National Assembly on the findings of a particular investigation if -

(i) he or she deems it necessary;

(ii) he or she deems it in the public interest;

(iii) it requires the urgent attention of, or an intervention by, the National Assembly;

(iv) he or she is requested to do so by the Speaker of the National Assembly; or

(iv) he or she is requested to do so by the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces.

(3) The findings of an investigation by the Public Protector shall, when he or she deems it fit but as soon as possible, be made available to the complainant and to any person implicated thereby."

So, is the ANC Caucus wrong with its complaints the Thuli did not submit the Report to Parliament. I think not.

Thuli is not constitutionally required to submit the report to Parliament see 2(a) above.

But 2 (b) makes it impossible to defend Thuli for not submitting the Report to Parliament

(Please make reference to the below with the above quoted PP laws)

2 (b) (I) Did Thuli not find it necessary to submit it to Parliament?

2 (b) (ii) Did she not think its in the public interest that it was submitted to Parliament?

2 (b) (iii) Did Thuli not think the Report requires urgent attention and interventions of the National Assembly?

2 (b) (iv) Her defense from the caucus was that The Speaker of the National Assembly did not request the Report.

But what about 2 (b) (I) 2 (b) (ii) and 2 (b) (iii) aren't they suppose to factor before. 2( b)(iv) . (Reference above)

Thuli's second defense is that she gave President Zuma the Report and expects him to send it to Parliament.

Thuli and Zuma are not members not MPs. They head institutions which are independent from each other and from Parliament.

Both Thuli and Zuma, according to the constitution are held accountable by Parliament.

Thuli should have submitted the Report to Parliament because its in the Public Interest and Report required parliament interventions and attention. Not send it there via Zuma, a person implicated by her findings.

I do have my opinion however on the Media. Its getting Thuli to play politics. Which she shouldn't as this will later discredit her office.

Politicians will always talk, in most cases they will do so to save their skins. Thuli does not have to respond to each and everyone of them as she is doing.

Imagine if the Oscar Pistorious trial judge would hand her judgment, no matter what outcomes, she goes to radio stations to defend her judgment and respond to Public Opinions which will be either in her defense or the person negatively implicated by the judgment.

Thuli is doing exactly that, responding to Public Opinions. I wouldn't be surprised if she responds to a blog by a no-name person like me.

This however she does because she can't see as the Public and Media has immunize her from criticism.

Insults and attacks must not be equated to criticism.

When Hlaudi's Pastor's prayed for Thuli, it was an insult.

When COSAS said she has a big nose, it was an insult, and an attack.

When ANCYL said she must resign, it was an insult and an attack to her integrity.

It was not an attack or integrity degradation however when Helen said she will take her to court, it was a critique of the provisional report. Helen Zille was using her democratic rights.

There is also nothing wrong with Minister of Agriculture going to Court. Its not an attack on Thuli's integrity, it's a right, given to the Minister by our constitution.

Again, we must not immunize Thuli from criticism as this will go on to discredit the office in the near future.

Defending Thuli Mandonsela should not be done like we all do in politics. That is, defending a leader you like and giving them immunity from criticism.

Follow @EsethuHasane on Twitter, he defends Thuli while criticizing some of her shortcomings.

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