South Africa

In search of a new Madonsela: Choosing the right Public Protector to battle corruption

In 2016, when Busisiwe Mkhwebane took over the Public Protector reins from Thuli Madonsela, she had massive shoes to fill.

In her seven years in office from 2009 to 2016, Madonsela was lauded for the way she conducted her duties and that she held no fear or favour, regardless of who was being investigated.

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She won plaudits and awards the world over, particularly after she filed her final report on state capture where she instructed former president Jacob Zuma to appoint a judicial commission of inquiry into the widespread looting of state coffers.

Unforgivable levels of corruption

The courts agreed with her, despite objections and opposition to her decision. We’ve since seen and heard of the unforgivable levels of corruption.

Madonsela showed the type of brave character you need in such a position in the battle against corruption.

Anything short of possessing these credentials, you shouldn’t even bother thinking of running for this office – let alone applying to do so.

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It’s been a miserable seven years with Mkhwebane. She’s stumbled from one blunder to another and is currently suspended, pending parliament’s committee inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

A decision is expected shortly and on the surface, it doesn’t look good for her. With her term running out in a few months, a shortlist of eight names has been put forward to replace her. Acting Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka seems the frontrunner.

Phala Phala

She possesses many good qualities but concerns still remain after her clearing President Cyril Ramaphosa of the Phala Phala scandal.

The main objective of the public protector is to defend democracy and its citizens by protecting and enforcing constitutional obligations. We do need another Madonsela. The looting and corruption in this country demands it. We can’t afford another wasted seven years like we’ve just endured