Winds of Change in the Office of the Public Protector

By Zoleka Qodashe

“Only those with clean hands can drink from the fountain of justice.”

Thuli+MadonselaWith South Africa’s recent political turmoil, it is important to note the beacon of hope for South African citizens and pay homage to those whose moral rectitude is not stained by the apparent sense of degeneration of the value system within the political sphere. Advocate Thuli Madonsela, the current Public Protector, has become a colossal figure of justice in our times. She is an embodiment of justice and an icon of moral rectitude. Fond of referring to the case of “Gogo Dlamini” as what should pre-occupy her office, Advocate Madonsela has shown that no case is too big or small for her. She has truly lived up to the credo of Lady Justice, i.e.: Dispensing justice without fear, favour or prejudice. Her quest for justice and tenacity for the truth were evident recently, when her findings on the Nkandla saga were ruled by the Constitutional Court to be enforceable. This follows her earlier ruling that the president ought to repay some portion of the money for refurbishments on non-security improvements on his Nkandla household. This, after the president and his cronies had derided her recommendations as being not enforceable but “mere recommendations”.

She has also exposed the rot that has dogged the South African Post Office. It is these fearless achievements that have seen her being elevated to the universal podium. Under Advocate Madonsela’s watch, the office of the Public Protector has moved from the periphery into being the centre. Under her predecessor, Gabriel Mushwana, this office was moribund mainly because Gabriel Mushwana was not fearless and did not discharge his duties without fear, favour or prejudice. It is not surprising that under his watch, the Human Rights office has become moribund.

Advocate Madonsela sees no matter as a political hot potato that should thus be steered away from. To the Public Protector, we tip our hats to you and wish you well in future endeavours.

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