7/6/2011. Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela addresses the media about the reports that she is to be arrested. Picture : Masi Losi

Johannesburg - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela compared South Africans to an abused spouse when asked why she thinks South Africans voted for the current leadership.

Speaking at the University of Johannesburg’s Convocation Day, Madonsela said South Africans did not vote for the current government because they endorse maladministration, but because they hope that things will change.

“Abused women don’t stay because they enjoy the abuse, they stay because they hope things will change,” Madonsela said.

South Africans, she said, should play their part in making society a better place, which included holding those in power accountable.

Society should not sit back but should get involved in the governance of the country, she added. “We need to play our part in governing.”

Madonsela compared the current state of affairs in South Africa with a poem by James Patrick Kinney, The Cold Within. She said the six men in the poem who did not contribute their logs to help each other and keep the fire burning because of race, religion and economic status all ended up dying.

She recited the end of the poem: “They didn’t die from the cold without. They died from the cold within.”

Madonsela said good governance started with self-governance. “ It’s amazing what you can achieve when you don’t use excuses as crutches.”

Corruption and other forms of gross maladministration or bad governance should not be accepted by society, she added.

[email protected]

The Star