Public Protector delivers Helen Joseph Memorial Lecture

The legacy of apartheid cannot be the sole reason for failure to deliver on the promises made by the constitution of the republic, Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela said on Tuesday in Johannesburg.

Delivering the 7th Annual Helen Joseph Memorial Lecture at the University of Johannesburg, the Public Protector said she believed maladministration was the major culprit derailing delivery on the constitutional promise.

“Can we blame the legacy of apartheid for persisting conditions of abject poverty, inequality and employment that many are still trapped in? My view is yes we can ... but can we blame all of it on apartheid? My view is that some of the blame must go to actions taken or not taken by state actors in the last 18 years,” she said.

The lecture was themed: “Following in the footsteps of Helen Joseph – The Place of South African Women Leaders in our Democracy.” It was part of a series of activities held across the country by different institutions to mark women’s month, which seeks to honour the 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria 56 years ago in protest against the apartheid regime’s repressive pass laws.

The Public Protector told guests that included the wife of former President Thabo Mbeki, Zanele Mbeki, and ex Head of Special Investigating Unit, Willie Hofmeyr, that she did not believe apartheid was responsible for the lack of medicines in hospitals or for RDP houses that were paid for despite not being delivered or delivered in deplorable quality.

She challenged women leaders to play their part in arresting maladministration, including its extreme variations such as corruption and abuse of power and state resources.

Like Helen Joseph, the Public Protector said, women leaders needed to be prepared to take a principled stand, speak truth to power, act with integrity and be change agents in order to make a meaningful contribution towards the attainment of the constitutional dream.

Women leaders also had to transcend boundaries and related biases, build peace, speak in their own authentic voices and consolidate the transition from being tea-makers to decision-makers, she said.

For more information, contact:

Oupa Segalwe
Manager: Outreach, Education and Communication Public Protector South Africa
012 366 7035 072 264 3273

Published Date: 
Tuesday, August 21, 2012