Public Protector Thuli Madonsela gets another by Paul Harris Fellowship Award

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela received another accolade, the Paul Harris Fellowship in Sapphire, from the Durban North Rotary Club at the Durban ICC last night. The award is the highest accolade Rotary International bestows on individuals.

Responding to the gesture, Public Protector Madonsela reminded the audience that though her office is tasked with enforcing the Executive Ethics Code and public administration principles, it is not exempt from ethical compliance and scrutiny.

The Durban North Rotary Club, which is the second Rotary Club to bestow the Paul Harris Fellowship award on Public Protector Madonsela, said it was recognising her for "championing ethics and integrity".

Public Protector Madonsela said her office's job was to ensure that ethics and integrity are upheld throughout government while endeavouring to lead by example in its own affirms particularly when dealing with investigations.

"We are often asked if we are not being used as pawns in political games," she said. "Our answer is always simple: To us, it does not matter who lodges a complaint; what is important is whether there is anything to investigate at all."

Public Protector Madonsela said being independent and conducting investigations with impartiality was central to her office's work.

She said, in dealing with complaints, the approach was always to ask what happened; what should have happened; whether there was a discrepancy between there to; if so, whether the discrepancy could be called maladministration; and if that was the case, how the maladministration would be rectified.

Public Protector Madonsela said when exacting accountability regarding ethics compliance, her office acted on authority given by section 182 of the Constitution and the Executive Members' Ethics Act, which gives her office sole power to investigate alleged violations of the Executive Ethics Code.

She added that the Executive Ethics Code regulated the ethical conduct of the President, Deputy President, Ministers, Premiers and Members of Executive Councils. For all other state actors, the office relied on the Public Protector Act.

She said the yardstick used to judge the conduct of those investigated, included ethical obligations imposed by Sections 96 and 195 of the Constitution, among others. She explained that section 96 deals with the ethical standards required from members of the Executive while the latter focussed on the responsibilities of actors in the broader public administration.

Turning to the award, Public Protector Madonsela thanked the Rotary Club for recognising her team's modest efforts in fighting maladministration, malfeasance and corruption is state affairs.

However, she said it was organisations such as Rotary International that should be praised for providing humanitarian services, encouraging high ethical standards in all vocations, and helping build goodwill and peace in the world.

"You also embrace inclusivity. You are open to all persons regardless of race, color, creed, religion, gender, or political preference," Public Protector Madonsela said.

She said South Africa needed more organisations like the Rotary Club if the vision of an improved quality of life and a freed potential of each person was to be realised.

In addition, the African Union's Agenda 2063, which includes silencing the guns in the continent by 2020, requires efforts similar to those of Rotary International to become a reality.

Earlier in the day Public Protector Madonsela addressed the 2014 Discovery Leadership Conference. In her address on a leadership that is anchored in purpose and vision, Public Protector Madonsela asked corporate South Africa to increase its participation in ensuring that the South Africa promised to all by the Constitution is realized. She further asked all to read and play their part in fulfilling the vision in AU Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma's e-mail to generation 2063 on "The Africa We Want."

For more information, contact:
Oupa Segalwe
Manager: Outreach, Education and Communications
Public Protector South Africa
(012) 366 7035
072 264 3273

Twitter: @PublicProtector
Facebook: Public Protector South Africa

Published Date: 
Friday, November 21, 2014