The attacks on Thuli Madonsela seem to confirm what the public already suspects, that there may be something to hide, says Khaya Dlanga.
Cape Town - Nelson Mandela said, “Those who conduct themselves with morality, integrity and consistency need not fear the forces of inhumanity and cruelty.”
If there is integrity and morality then there should be nothing to fear from Public Protector Thuli Madonsela because those forces of morality, integrity and consistency will be victorious if there is some mischief from the Office of the Public Protector.
Madonsela is in trouble because she is trouble to what may be troublesome practices. This is her problem. Being too fearless and not navigating the political minefields deftly enough.
She has just executed her job as ordained by the South African Constitution.
She runs a Chapter 9 institution. Our constitution says the following about these institutions:
1. The following state institutions strengthen constitutional democracy in the Republic: (a) The Public Protector. (b)The Human Rights Commission. ([Para. (b) amended by s. 4 of Act 65 of 1998.] (c) The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities. (d) The Commission for Gender Equality. (e) The Auditor-General. (f) The Electoral Commission.
2. These institutions are independent, and subject only to the Constitution and the law, and they must be impartial and must exercise their powers and perform their functions without fear, favour or prejudice.
3. Other organs of state, through legislative and other measures, must assist and protect these institutions to ensure the independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness of these institutions.
4. No person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of these institutions.
5. These institutions are accountable to the National Assembly, and must report on their activities and the performance of their functions to the Assembly at least once a year.
Those who have something to hide are threatened by Madonsela doing her job. She has turned her office into an effective entity because of its fearlessness in delivering reports without fear or favour.
It appears that there is a concerted effort to discredit Madonsela, as evidenced by Bishop Pule Makgethi, who says that he represents independent churches with over a million members.
“Our main bone of contention is that the public protector is poisoning the atmosphere in our country by her general demeanour in the execution of her duties, particularly in the matters of advocate Pansy Tlakula and SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.”
The bishop said he was addressing the media out of concern for “demonic forces which planned to derail the revolution and the freedom of our people”.
One of the things Madonsela found to be irregular was Motsoeneng’s salary increase, from R1.5m to R2.4m in a year.
The ANC needs to be careful not to come across as drawing a laager around certain individuals. When the powerful seem to be enjoying the protection of the party, the masses get restless and the president gets booed.
The sooner the ANC confronts the issues that need addressing, the easier its path will be in electioneering.
The attacks on Madonsela seem to confirm what the public already suspects, that there may be something to hide.
The ANC would do well to heed the words of Mandela when he said, “I can promise you, we will not wilt under close scrutiny. It is our considered view that such criticism can only help us to grow, by calling attention to those of our actions and omissions which do not measure up to our people’s expectations and the democratic values to which we subscribe.”
The ANC is capable of achieving this standard if it wants to.
There are some in the ANC who want this and live up to it.
* Khaya Dlanga is a social commentator and author of In My Arrogant Opinion.