Rounding off her assignment as a Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela said she is confident that President Jacob Zuma is happy and quite satisfied with her performance.
Reflecting on her term in office which would be ending by October 15 2016, Madonsela said when she met President Zuma following her appointment in 2009, the president expected her to be “independent and impartial” which she can [proudly say she was all through her tenure in office.
“He expected me to be independent, impartial, in subject only to the Constitution and the law. Nothing less and nothing more,” she said at a University of KwaZulu-Natal’s School of Law Professions Day cocktail function in Pietermaritzburg.
Madonsela added that the President Zuma confided in her because after being removed as the ANC’s deputy president, he approached the office of the Public Protector and opened a case against a powerful office in government.
“It gave him a lot of comfort that the Public Protector did not look at who was applying and was guided by the rule of law, and not by who was above or below the law, that is why I think he is happy that I have stayed within the rule of law.”
Though Madonsela faced so much criticisms from the Zuma supporters after her recommendation that the president pays back a portion of the public funds spent on upgrading his Nkandla homestead, she is happy that the president agreed to pay back the money after much delays.
She said: “I am certain that the president… is happy with the way that I have conducted business.”
Touching on other topics, Madonsela said that she had learnt a lot during her time in office, saying that she had realized that her recommendations were binding.
“There are many lessons that I have learnt… but what stands out is that as a lawyer, don’t just do what you find being done. Read the law yourself and once you are satisfied… proceed. she said as she referred to the constitution as a “Christmas box” that has to be continuously opened. “The Constitution offers a lot and we have to read it every day…”
However, as much as she is happy with herself for a job Weldon, Madonsela said she would not want to reapply fir the position base on the nature of the job.
“If the Public Protector was an ombudsman like in Europe, which is a safe space, then it would be fine. But with us there are two problems, we investigate corruption and ethics and that directly places us in a position where we supervise the work of everyone who works for government, and you wouldn’t want to do that job for more than seven years.” she explained
Outlining the position’s appointment processes she said Parliament will advertise the position soon and anyone can be nominated. “Once you have been nominated and with your CV attached, and a letter from you accepting the nomination, Parliament’s ad-hoc committee will look at all the CVs and shortlist people.
After this, the shortlisted people will be advertised for the public to make their choice by writing to the parliament in support or against the candidates. Then “they can recommend one name to the National Assembly and it has to vote on that one name.”
Madonsela finally sated that she would want to have a good rest for a while. “I really just want to take a sabbatical and reflect on life…”