As Thuli Madonsela happily rounds up her duty as the Public Protector, a student aligned with the #FeesMustFall movement has challenged her performance as the protector of the public especially in the anti racism fights.
Speaking during an anti-racism dialogue at Wits university school of governance on Wednesday night, Busisiwe Seabe accused Madonsela of policing fellow student Simamkele Dlakavu who was part of the panel in her answers to a white student in attendance. The student said;
“Even you, advocate, the way you are chairing the session and policing Simamkele’s response to this white woman, you are trying to protect the white privilege that she has, to sit back and say things that she says…
We didn’t step into a democracy, all we stepped into was the master allowing us to not stand outside and work in a plantation. But now we can come in and wash his dishes as well.”
She said this in reaction to Simamkele’s argument that racism could only be dismantled once the country had dismantled ‘whiteness’.
In reaction to the student’s statement, Madonsela said she was not protecting the white woman but she knew they would agree if they had a broader discussion. Madonsela added that even during apartheid she was never excluded because of money or slept in toilets while she attended university.
Madonsela, who while reflecting on her term which ends on October 15, said she is certain she has had a job well done and that President Zuma, who appointed her is happy with her service.
She added that even though she was convinced that the president was pleased, she was happy with serving just one term. She however appealed to youth in the country not to assume if someone is white they are on the other side.
Speaking on the need for a strong anti racism fight, Madonsela said at the 20-year anniversary of the Human Rights Commission (HRC), that conferences are needed to address the social ill
Veteran lawyer George Bizos, who also attended the meeting said he expected a bit more optimism about the future from students.