“Ruling has re-affirmed powers of my office” - Madonsela

BY CHARL BOSCH - MARCH 31, 2016

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has described the Constitutional Court’s findings that President Jacob Zuma failed to take appropriate remedial action regarding her Nkandla report, as victory for South Africans who turn to her office.

Speaking at a media briefing in Pretoria after Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng had ruled that Zuma needs to pay back a percentage of the R246-million spent on non-security upgrades at his private home within 45 days of the amount being calculated, Madonsela said the verdict has reaffirmed the powers of her office.

“Today is the day the Constitutional Court restored hope in the constitutional dream for every ‘Gogo Dlamini’ out there, who needs to rely on the Public Protector to hold government accountable for improper conduct that may have wronged her,” she was quoted as saying.

“One of the lessons we have learnt from this is [that] those who exercise authority must be careful not to surround themselves with praise singers. It's important for me to have a team with diverse views”.

In passing the court’s verdict, Mogoeng also stated that Madonsela’s office rates as a “pivotal” part of the fight against corruption, and that any form of remedial action implemented by her cannot be ignored without legal consequences.

“The Public Protector is the embodiment of a Biblical David… a crusader of anti-corruption [who] cannot be undermined. [She] is one of the most invaluable gifts to our country’s Constitution,” Mogoeng said.

“Her investigative powers are not supposed to bow down to anybody, not even at the door of the highest chambers of raw state power”.