Public Protector calls for "Let our children Go to School" Campaign in respect of Kuruman learners

Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela on Saturday called for a campaign aimed at getting pupils in Kuruman, Northern Caper to go back to school. She was addressing a packed conference room of mainly women lawyers as the breakfast guest of Kingdom House of Dominion Christian Centre, in Bloemfontein.

"The women of Kuruman should step up and stand out as the voice of reason to influence and inspire others to appreciate that while government's alleged failure to keep a promise may be wrong and possibly constitute maladministration, holding children at ransom and denying them an education is worse than wrong," she said.

The Public Protector proceeded to exhort the rest of patriotic South Africans to do all they can to get the children of Kuruman back to school immediately. She explained that learners in Kuruman have been prevented from going to school since May this year, the explanation being that government and local mining company Sishen had failed on a promise made in 2012 to construct safe roads for the community.

The Public Protector further advised that her office had played a central role with the help of the South African Police Services, faith, traditional, government and other leaders in the community in brokering the deal that resolved a similar impasse in Olifantshoek two years ago.

Speaking on the theme "Stepping up and standing out in pursuit of ethical leadership", the Public Protector opined that to do what is right regardless of the challenges, was at the core of true leadership.

“Leadership is about influencing and inspiring others to pursue and achieve a common vision or goal... Ethical Leadership is essentially about knowing and pursuing what is right and shunning what is wrong. Ethical leadership entails knowing what is right, doing what is right and inspiring others to do what is right,” she said.

The Public Protector Madonsela said ethical leadership also included knowing what is wrong, not doing what was wrong and encouraging and inspiring others not to do what is wrong.

She added that "true leadership principally operates without a title or position" and that a person who cannot lead without a position or title will not be able to lead when given a position or a title.

She further said true leadership is about problem solving and helping others to realise their full potential in pursuit of a common goal.

The Public Protector added that the first and key challenge in leadership is self-leadership. She opined that a lot of good deeds in government and society are fruits of self-leadership and that improper conduct like maladministration, from indifference to corruption, is principally due to failure by relevant wrongdoers to lead themselves.

She said one of her greatest desires was to see the nation appreciate that maladministration in state affairs is harmful and that in some cases the consequences of maladministration are worse than those if certain crimes. She went on to say that lives of innocent people were being destroyed everyday by maladministration, particularly involving indifference in service delivery, and that such wrongful conduct betrayed the constitutional promise of a better life and freed potential for all.

She made reference to a case of Patrick Khanyile, a young student from Alexandra township in Johannesburg, who battled to get the Department of Home Affairs to give him a new Identity Document, following a discovery that the old document was the subject of a duplicate ID problem.

She advised that in the process, young Khanyile, who did his matric in KwaZulu-Natal, lost a scholarship he had been awarded by a university while the Department of Education misplaced his results, which surfaced two years after the rectification of the ID following the intervention the current Premier of KwaZulu Natal, Mr Senzo Mchunu who was MEC of Education at the time.

She applauded Premier Mchunu for self-leadership and exemplary leadership in that he stepped up and went into the trench when he realized he problem was not being solved.

On the question of women stepping up and standing out to get the children of Kuruman back to school, Public Protector Madonsela asked:

“Where are we as women of this country when our children are being denied a right to education? Should we not be running a similar campaign for these innocent leaners as the #BringBackOurGirls campaign?"

The Public Protector reminded the women of South Africa that they are capable of great leadership as they stand on the shoulders of and walk in the footsteps of giants. She said South African women who paved the way have taken a leading role throughout history particularly in the pursuit of social justice. She cited in this regard, women such D Charlotte Maxeke, Olive Schreiner, Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Suzman, Sophia de Bruyn, Rahina Moosa, Helen Joseph, Ruth First and Frene Ginwala.

The audience was mostly women leaders principally drawn from the faith community, government, business and young persons from all over the country. The focus of the speech was on leadership lessons from the Bible's Courageous Debra, Compassionate and Committed Esther and Confident Mary.

For more information, contact:

Kgalalelo Masibi
Public Protector South Africa
(012) 366 7069
079 507 0399
Twitter: @PublicProtector
Facebook: Public Protector South Africa

Published Date: 
Sunday, September 7, 2014