Johannesburg - Transparency, accountability, and the rule of law are important elements in the fight against crime, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said on Thursday.
“These three concepts are important as transparency and accountability challenge the rule of law in society, which leads to justice,” Madonsela said in Johannesburg.
She was speaking at a conference on crime and justice in Sandton, where various organisations, researchers, academics, and media from around the world were in attendance.
Madonsela said transparency enabled the “wrongdoings of society to be exposed”.
“If people know what is happening in society they can become an enforcer and put pressure on state officials to instil justice.”
Accountability was also essential in the criminal justice system.
“Accountability is an obligation to be answerable for your behaviour and decisions,” said Madonsela.
The criminal justice system was often flawed as it lacked accountability, she said, referring to court proceedings which, at times, delayed justice.
“My office dealt with a rape case found to have been delayed 48 times and which went on for eight years.”
Madonsela also referred to the rule of law as being crucial in relation to crime and justice.
“The rule of law means that no one is above the law, regardless of their position or relationship.”
She said the rule of law could be applied in the criminal justice system as all members of society could take responsibility for enforcing the law.
“The rule of law is everyone's business.”
Transparency was important in this regard as it allowed members of the public to be aware of certain issues and allowed them to apply the rule of law.
Nelson Mandela Foundation director of research and archives Verne Harris, as well as Witwatersrand University vice chancellor and principal Professor Adam Habib were also expected to address the conference later on Thursday.