Public Protector dedicates Guardian of Governance and Leadership awards to staff

Awards and honorary doctorates bestowed on Adv. Thuli Madonsela by both domestic and global institutions would not have been possible had it not been for the incredible team she leads, the Public Protector said on Saturday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Changemakers Conference in Cape Town, where she was bestowed with yet another accolade, the LeadSA Leader of the Year Award, Adv. Madonsela said the accolades, though given to her, were a recognition of the entire team that she has been fortunate to lead.

The LeadSA award comes after Adv. Madonsela's contribution to various causes in the society was recognised this week through two other accolades; namely the Institute of Internal Auditors South Africa's Chairman's Guardian of Governance Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award, conferred at the Top Women Awards 2016.

Adv. Madonsela has previously been crowned South African of the Year and Newsmaker of the Year. She has also been honoured through Honorary Doctorates conferred by the universities of Stellenbosch, Rhodes and Cape Town. In 2014, the Public Protector won Transparency International's Integrity Award and was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the world by Time Magazine. The New Africa Magazine had listed her among the Most Influential Africans the previous year. There have been several other accolades, mostly domestically.

"These awards," Adv. Madonsela said, "serve as a reward for the entire Public Protector team as it is this team that makes things happen."

Adv. Madonsela, whose non-renewable seven-year term of office comes to an end in eight weeks, said she accepted the recognition with humility on behalf of the men and women in her office, who go beyond the call of duty to ensure justice for the "Gogo Dlaminis" in society while also ensuring good governance in state affairs.

She expressed her gratitude to South Africans for entrusting her office with their complaints, providing her an opportunity to serve and lead the institution.

Asked what made her team so special, Adv. Madonsela explained her team was composed of experienced and dedicated people who knew that their role was to ensure that the vulnerable were protected from the improper conduct of the state, while also acting as a conscience of the same state by bringing to its attention, any areas of wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, Adv. Madonsela told delegates at the LeadSA-organised Changemakers Conference that titles did not turn people into leaders. Speaking on leadership and making a difference, she said it was unlikely for people who have never led without titles to become effective leaders once they have the titles.

She referred to iconic leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Charlotte Maxeke, Helen Suzman and Olive Schreiner, whom she said had proven their inspirational leadership qualities without fancy titles long before they were given such titles.

Making the point that the act of following a leader was an important part of leading, Adv. Madonsela said institutions such as her office and others in the oversight sector were like shepherds. "Shepherds are leaders we ignore at our own peril," she said. "Leaders who make a difference know when to follow and when to lead."

Adv. Madonsela added that leaders who appreciated their power allowed a chance to be led or advised even by those below them. She said the world was in turmoil and that this required visionary leadership.

The types of leaders needed today, she said, were those that were about justice rather than those that had the "just us" approach to leadership.

On making a difference, Adv. Madonsela implored society to take the "light a candle" rather than "moan the darkness" approach. She made an example of Mandela and others, whom she said played an active part in building the world they yearned for instead of only complaining about how bad things were.

For more information, contact:

Oupa Segalwe
Senior Manager: Communications
Public Protector South Africa
Cell: 072 264 3273

Public Protector South Africa

Published Date: 
Sunday, August 21, 2016