She had always enjoyed maintaining a moderate but relevant profile and even after leaving office, Thulisile Madonsela still chooses to lie low – if not mute on several thorny issues that emerged after her tenure.
A handful of such issues ranges from the status of her ‘State of Capture’ report’ President Zuma’s sustained stratagems against the report down to the heated succession race of the ANC top post.
But speaking to more than 200 people at the Cape Town Press Club today, the endearing former Public Protector squeezed out some time to touch on the race.
Madonsela remarked that it would be her utmost pleasure to see a female president succeed President Jacob Zuma but insisted that any female presidential hopeful must not be a ‘proxy’ but one who would change and unite the nation for good.
Making mention about herself, the former Public Protector said she is neither interested or qualified to be South Africa’s first citizen.
“I am neither qualified to be president nor interested in that job … Should he be a man, should she be female? At this stage for me, I would like to say I would like to have a female, but I would hate to have a female that’s a proxy,” Madonsela said.
Though she refrained from being straight about who she was referring to, there are strong indications that she might have referenced President Zuma’s ex-spouse, Dlamini-Zuma, who has garnered strong support from various heavyweights and organizations in the few days, including a thumbs up from Zuma.
Thulisile Madonsela also made a fuss about several media reports about Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane investigating her for leaking the State of Capture audio recording.
She reacted by saying: “I understand she [Mkhwebane] is instituting criminal charges against me. It can’t be a crime.”
Madonsela cheerfully told the crowd that she would be spending her time at Harvard University this year and also working on the establishment of the Thuli Madonsela Foundation.
“I will be using my time at Harvard and using the space to look into the crystal ball of what is next for me. It’s a fellowship for the ‘has beens’,” she cheerfully added.
In conclusion, Thulisile Madonsela encouraged President Zuma not to complicate the report because the trust deficit between government and the public created by her report would continue if the truth remains masked.