We all have a Madiba quality in us: Public Protector

There is a Nelson Mandela in each and every human being in the world. But it is up to each individual to see which quality of Madiba in them is developed.

This was the view of Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela. She was speaking at the uBuntu Indaba hosted by Humanity’s Team South Africa, Freedom Park and the Nelson Mandela Foundation to honour the uBuntu spirit of the late President in Johannesburg last Saturday.

The Public Protector said Madiba, as a leader, understood that bitterness would have caused him to act as a victim rather than to act as a leader.

“Had he chosen to be bitter, he would have been unable to lead this nation and in pursuit of its ideals as enshrined in the Constitution.”

The Public Protector said these constitutional ideals included the promise of an improved quality of life for all and a freed potential of each person.

She added that Madiba chose to abandon the bitter past and instead of acting as a victim allowed himself to participate in building a bridge that would take the country into a better future.

The Public Protector added that those who saw themselves as victims were not likely to know or spot the wrongfulness on their acts, often ending as villains without realising it. She used the conflict in the Middle East as an example.

She described Madiba as a person who knew that even the most caring government leaders, with all good intentions were not perfect and that wrongs were often committed without realising it hence the need for a supervised exercise of public power.

The Public Protector said because of such Madiba subjected himself and his administration to scrutiny from the constitutional mechanisms.

She added that those mechanisms included scrutiny by the Chapter 9 institutions such as the Public Protector, Auditor-General, Independent Electoral Commission and others.

The Public Protector challenged the world to honour Madiba and his uBuntu by continuously accepting that humanity is inter-connected regardless of race, gender, religious beliefs, country of origin or sexual orientation.

She asked the organisers to consider bringing business on board in future and to help them on how to make a living without destroying the lives of others.

She said this was drawn from her participation at the Tallberg Forum in Sweden where participants gather periodically to discuss globalization in a manner that embraces it as a reality of life and promotes sustainable ways of co-existence.

The Public Protector pointed out that, in the African culture, when it is said a person is “umuntu” it means he is the epitome of humanity. She said Madiba was indeed “umuntu”.

Other speakers who included former chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Dr Brigalia Bam and Madiba’s long-time friend and human rights lawyer Adv. George Bizos described Madiba as someone whose life embodied uBuntu.

They called on the world to live the life of Madiba, saying in that way many lives would be improved.

Dr Bam said Madiba left the world a legacy of what he believed in and it up was up to the each and every person to ensure that his legacy was preserved and continued.

She described Madiba’s legacy as that of togetherness and building a better life for each and every person in the world.

Adv. Bizos described Mandela as a leader who did not want to be seen as advancing any interest of a particular race, religion or any political ideology.

Asked what leaders needed to do to improve the lives of the people they served, Adv. Bizos said “follow Nelson Mandela’s example.”

For more information contact:

Ms Kgalalelo Masibi
Public Protector South Africa
012 366 7006
079 507 0399

Published Date: 
Friday, August 1, 2014