We-love-Thuli-Madonsela fever is spreading through South Africa. For those who don’t yet know her, Advocate Thulisile Madonsela is the Public Protector (Ombudsman) who recently completed the investigation and report on the over R200-million upgrade to President Jacob Zuma’s residential complex in Nkandla.
Facebook fan pages have risen rapidly to support and commend Ms Madonsela for her courage and integrity, with the people of South Africa calling her their hero, a “younger version of Nelson Mandela” and requesting “Thuli for President”
On one fan page, Clive Kalan wrote: “I honour you Madam. I listened to you on the radio and I heard your voice shaking in fear when you revealed the really dangerous stuff. I honour you and your team for your tenacity, fortitude and courage. You have won me over and given me a renewed faith in this wonderful country. The people rule, not the government.”
His words were echoed by Steven Stead whose open letter on Facebook has voiced the feelings of so many South Africans at this moment in time, caught between the Report and the Elections, a nation who fervently love their country and who desperately want to love and support their government…but who – for many – have been left feeling crushed and hopeless by some current South African politician’s decisions that appear to be more for personal gain than for realising the dreams and hopes of what the ANC stood for, for everyone.
With Steven Stead’s permission, we publish his full letter here:
Her disclosures will surely cost her exile from the protection of the party that she is loyal to and which sustained and appointed her. And yet she didn’t flinch, just spoke her truth in that tightly controlled, husky voice, that speaks subliminal volumes of the pressure she has been under and the personal pain of having to reveal the failings of our president, and his closest political collaborators.
My heart burns for her. I am so grateful. She really is the people’s champion.
And what does she get in return from the ANC for this staggering act of selfless bravery? Her findings are dismissed. No apology or restitution will be issued. All will continue as normal on this new gravy train, which steams ahead leaving her and all of us thinking, caring, concerned and committed citizens covered in it’s dust and filth staring in disbelief as it disappears into the murky horizon.
What did I expect? This is not a Hollywood movie. The hero on the white horse isn’t coming. The bad guys just walk away laughing. There is no real justice. And where there is no justice, and no faith in our leaders, where is the hope for the future?
But in the midst of my rage and pain, I have to say thank you for the few extraordinary souls we are blessed with, like Ms Madonsela, who stop the anger from turning the heart to stone, and who somehow manage to kindle the smallest flicker of hope in this filthy darkness.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has also spoken out in support of Thuli Madonsela. The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation released a statement commending her for her “courage in investigating and reporting without fear or favour” on the controversial upgrade to Nkandla.
The statement said that “the suggestion by the ruling party and its allies that the timing of the release of the report was a political ploy by the Public Protector to influence the looming general election is a scandalous nonsense.”
In a plea to the people of South Africa, Tutu said “we hope that patriotic South Africans of integrity and decency, of whom there are many, will respond appropriately to the Public Protector’s report. We hope that they will act with principle rather than slide into the quicksand of feeble excuses.”
One of the main facebook pages in support of Thuli Madonsela is Support Thuli Madonsela, our Public Protector, which was created because Thuli “has done what no other public protector ever even thought of doing before – she exposed corrupt government officials. Please let us support her. It would be important for her to know that us, the people of South Africa are behind her and support her in her very difficult task to protect us, the public. Let’s hope she continues to expose all corruption, in particular with tenders.”
Another page which is gathering a lot of support is Hands OFF our Public Protector, a page which in its latest post reminds everyone that whilst Thuli is great, her “staff also deserve a heap of praise for the work they do behind the scenes. A big round of applause for her staff please!”
To Support Thuli Madonsela, please join one of the above pages, and/or join The Public Protector’s official Facebook Page.