Standing for the truth and remaining resolute pays off, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on Friday morning as the country celebrated her following the Constitutional Court ruling that absolved her on her Nkandla investigations.
Describing Thursday’s unanimous ruling that President Jacob Zuma had failed to uphold, defend and respect the constitution as marking a good day in South Africa to celebrate constitutional democracy, she said: “If you stand for the truth and do so long enough, hope does eventually pay.
“I was always hopeful that this judgment would come. Someone had to pursue the truth, at least at that stage I believed it was the truth and it turns out that the guardians of our constitution believe so too.”
In a tweet on Friday morning, Madonsela said that “at times, we have to stand alone with only hope as our companion”.
Madonsela, who trended on Twitter throughout Thursday and much of Friday morning, was interviewed by Talk Radio 702’s John Robbie this morning.
She said Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s oratory describing her as “biblical David who took on the Goliath” brought tears to her staff members’ eyes.
“I suppose because I am Christian, I could relate to that,” she said.
Madonsela said her lowest point was when “a whole ministry announced to the world that I was being investigated as a spy based on some shady website”.
“That I think was the lowest side of this whole thing and certainly when the Hawks advised us that they were investigating and physically came to interview one of my spokespersons, I thought some plot was being lost.
“The one thing I never felt like doing was resigning because the more the resistance, the more I thought I was at the right place,” Madonsela said.
She said her office had a recording of the Hawks interview to her office despite the unit’s denial that she was being investigated.
At a press conference on Thursday Madonsela told journalists: “I would celebrate if the NPA and the Hawks could at least send me a report saying they had stopped investigating me.”
“You do know that I am being investigated with the potential of being prosecuted for holding this view that my powers are binding? I am required to deal with that. They have involved a very senior team, the Hawks, which is supposed to investigate organised crime, to look into what I said in court. Therefore, I hope they will now recognise that I am not a criminal; I am a public protector.”
However, both the NPA and Hawks denied any such investigation.
Madonsela also said on Thursday that it was not her job to determine whether or not Zuma was fit for office.
“My job was to protect the public by determining if somebody’s conduct was improper and how that should be fixed. That is what I did and now the Constitutional Court has confirmed that I have done my job. The rest of the job belongs to someone else,” she said.
The public protector said the Constitutional Court judgment stated that both the president and Parliament failed to uphold the constitution.
“Today is the day the Constitutional Court restored hope in the constitutional dream for every Gogo Dlamini out there needing to rely on the public protector to hold government accountable for improper conduct that has wronged her.
“They now know that the public protector is not a gate to nowhere,” Madonsela said.
She said that if she were to meet Zuma, she would thank him for declaring that he would pay back the money even before the highest court in the land made its decision.
“I think it was very courageous of him,” she said.
“The public protector team hopes that with the uncertainty regarding the powers of this institution and its relationship with organs of state clarified, we can now proceed to work together meaningfully in a partnership for good governance,” she said.
With her term ending later this year, Madonsela said she was confident her successor would do a good job in telling the government what it needed to hear, not what it wanted to hear.
“This judgment is something that we, as lawyers, will cherish for the rest of our lives,” she said.
There was still no word on Friday regarding the urgent ANC top six meeting announced by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe yesterday. The meeting was held to discuss the implications of the Constitutional Court’s ruling.[Source: The Star]