Public Protector asks UCT graduates to be innovative and part of solving SA challenges

Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela has asked commerce graduates of the University of Cape Town to consider the public sector as a potential future employer and to be part of problem solving in the country.

She was delivering a commencement address at the university’s School of Business in Cape Town on Friday.

The Public Protector told graduates that the public sector needed innovative brains to help government deliver on the constitutional promise of a better life for all.

“While it is well and good to be in the private sector, do consider the public sector as government needs your innovative brains to provide solutions to the problems that have given rise to the economic challenges we are experiencing,” she said.

The Public Protector added that young professionals often tended to shun the public sector in favour of the corporate world and were quick to point fingers when things were not going right in government. She cautioned that pointing fingers at the government was not doing the country any good when the critics could be offering solutions from within.

“Often young professionals tend to shun the public sector, opting for the corporate world. There is nothing wrong with this. However, there is something wrong when we then blame the government when our economy battles to keep afloat,” she said.

Pointing to the forecast bleak economic outlook, the Public Protector told the former students that they were graduating at the time when the country’s economy was struggling to create jobs and grappling with a lengthy industrial action in the platinum belt, among other things.

The World Bank, this week revised South Africa’s growth forecast from an earlier forecast of 2.7 % to 2%.

“This is where you come in. The industries in which you will soon be plying your trade form part of the bedrock of our economy. Your country needs your brains more than ever before to come up with innovative solutions to our economic problems,” she said.

The Public Protector gave graduates an example of Ludwick Marishane, a graduate from the same university who put the country on the world map through his invention of a hygienic product that needed no water to use but left users refreshed. The invention earned him a Global Student Entrepreneur Award.

She told the graduates they had what it takes to make a meaningful contribution to the world and warned them that they were about to transverse an uneasy terrain.

Advising them to stay on cause, the Public Protector used the late President Nelson Mandela’s words when he said: "After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb." And that "It always seems impossible until it is done."

The Public Protector reminded graduates that they came from different backgrounds but were graduating together as equals.

She congratulated the newly appointed Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Adv. Mike Masutha on his new role and paid tribute to his predecessor Minister Jeff Radebe.

For more information, contact:

Mr Momelezi Kula
Executive Manager: Outreach, Education and Communication
(012) 366 7059
083 494 4074
0800 11 20 40

Published Date: 
Friday, June 13, 2014