Profile of Advocate Thulisile (Thuli)
Madonsela: Public Protector-RSA
Adv Thulisile (Thuli) Nomkhosi Madonsela is the Public Protector of South Africa, a position she has occupied for about 7 years.
The third Public Protector and first woman to occupy the position, Adv Madonsela was appointed by the President with effect from
15 October 2009 following a unanimous vote by all parties represented in Parliament. Since Advocate Madonsela took office, the Public
Protector as a constitutional institution has tackled tough questions on administrative law and justice, good governance and executive
ethics and has received unprecedented national and international recognition, which has included her being recognized by Time Magazine
as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2014 and by New African Magazine as one of
100 Most Influential Africans. International
recognition of her work includes Transparency International’s Integrity Award 2014, Bar Council’s Sydney Kentridge, more than 30 other awards
and appointment to the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Transparency and Anti-Corruption
and the Advisory Board of the Institute
for Cultural Diplomacy.
An advocate of the High Court of South Africa, human rights and constitutional lawyer, seasoned administrative investigator, equality expert and
policy specialist with over two and a half decades post legal qualification experience, Thuli Madonsela
holds a BA Law (UNISWA, 1987), an LLB (Wits 1990), LLD Honoris Causa (Fort Hare, 2014) LLD Honoris Causa (Stellenbosch, 2015), LLD Honoris
Causa (Rhodes 2015) and an LLD Honorisa Causa (University of Cape Town (2015)
Her postgraduate studies include partial LLM studies and legal courses mainly in the area of Equality, Constitutional Litigation, Administrative Justice,
Legal Drafting, Legal Research and Public Administration. She is also trained in Ombudsman Practice, Administrative Investigation Techniques, including Forensic Investigations, Strategic Planning,
Scenario Planning, Project Management, Mediation and Negotiations Skills, Diversity Management and gender Mainstreaming. She has participated in
several Executive Management and Leadership courses, including Women’s Leadership Development.
One of the drafters of South Africa’s post-apartheid Constitution, Adv Madonsela forfeited a Harvard scholarship
to focus on her constitution drafting role as one of the Technical Advisers that worked with the Constitutional
Assembly in drafting the current Constitution. She is co-architect of Justice Vision 2000, the National Action Plan on the Promotion and Protection
of Human Rights, Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, Employment Equity Act, Local Government Transition Act. She has
contributed to several other laws enacted to transform the SA legal system since 1994, including the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act and the
Repeal of the Black Administration Act.
Adv Madonsela is the Chairperson of the African Ombudsman Research Centre, a research and training facility
based at the University of KwaZulu Natal, established under her leadership in 2011. Until recently, she was the Secretary of the African Ombudsman and
Mediators Association (AOMA) with her achievements in that capacity, including the conceptualization, drafting and adoption of the OR Tambo Declaration
for Minimum Standards for African Ombudsman Offices. She is a sought out key note speaker on constitutionalism, corruption, ethics, leadership and the
role of the Public Protector. Her addresses include the United Nations Global Compact Conference, World Economic Forum Council Conference, Tallberg Forum,
International Ombudsman Institute Conferences, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy’s World without Walls Conference and at African Union (AU) Conferences.
Her international work includes contribution to the drafting of key international documents, including the Beijing +5 and WCAR Outcomes documents and
several country human rights reports. She has also given lectures at various universities on her work and various aspects of the law.
At the time of appointment as Public Protector, Adv Madonsela was the only Full-time Commissioner in the South African Law reform Commission where in addition to
managing the Commission’s entire programme, she served as the Project leader for specific projects such as the Statutory Law Revision Project whose
focus was constitutional alignment and updating legislation; and the Commission’s project on the Review of the interpretation Act. She is also a
co-architect of several policies, including the policy framework that formed the basis of the Ministry for Women, Children and Persons with Disability.
She has held various senior positions in government and civil society.