Proper conduct in state affairs goes beyond lawfulness

Proper conduct in state affairs goes beyond lawfulness, Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela told a gathering in the Eastern Cape on Thursday. “The fact that the conduct was lawful does not necessarily make it right,” she said.

Addressing the Dispatch Dialogues, hosted by the Daily Dispatch and the University of Fort Hare in East London, the Public Protector said, when investigating government conduct, ombudsman institutions such as her office have to go beyond legality and look at whether the conduct involved was just, fair, right, reasonable and ethical.

She told guests that institutions such as her office do not focus on rights but on the standards the state ought to have met in its conduct, which ultimately results in the protection of rights.

The Public Protector said she was confident that democracy was working in South Africa, but felt that things could be better. She said the Constitution provided people with a right to complain.

The Public Protector also spoke about her office’s role as a catalyst for change. “Our role is to fix the problems and be a catalyst for change.”

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Published Date: 
Thursday, April 18, 2013