Thuli: I fight to defend Gogo

26 August 2015 - 02:45 By Nivashni Nair

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela will not be running for president any time soon. Asked yesterday, she responded: "Am I ready to be president? No. I am not even ready to be a politician. I am happy to do what I can."In our society there is space for civil society. But it is a question of consolidating those little things that are happening in civil society to make sure that those that we entrust with public power are accountable, and that's where I want to be."Madonsela was responding to questions during a Women's Month event at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, in Durban, at which she was the guest of honour.Asked if South Africa were ready for a woman president, she said: "It always has been ready for a woman president."But she said this did not mean that "come hell or high water, there must be a woman president"."I don't want a woman president or a man president. I want a president who will expand the frontiers of freedom, justice and constitutionalism in this country ."Madonsela said Women's Month was not only about the brave women of 1956 who marched to the Union Buildings in protest against pass laws. She said it was also about today's women and their efforts to protect civil rights.Madonsela was hailed by many as a defender of democracy when her Secure in Comfort report stated that President Jacob Zuma had unduly benefited from " security upgradings" to his Nkandla homestead. Her most recent report, Derailed, which was released on Monday, concluded that senior managers at the Passenger Rail Agency of SA had wasted more than R2-billion of taxpayers' money in the past three years."People think that we deal only with Secure in Comfort and Derailed but I am happy to say that most of our cases are about 'Gogo Dlamini'."Gogo Dlamini is our typical grandmother, or a single person who believes that he has been wronged by the state but does not have the means to face the state head on.''Madonsela said she was disappointed that axed Prasa CEO Lucky Montana, who was implicated in six instances of tender and financial impropriety, planned to challenge her Derailed report in court.She said: "I am disappointed that he has changed his tone because he wrote to me shortly after I released the provisional report, which he came and read in our office, and eventually took a copy."In his letter he said he was happy with the report. He had one or two things that he wished we could have handled differently. He undertook to comply with the findings and remedial actions so I am surprised [by the resort to litigation]."

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