Public protector Thuli Madonsela was humbled to be selected the winner of Transparency International’s Integrity award for 2014, she said on Friday.
“I accept the accolade with deep humility on behalf of the public protector team, fellow integrity institutions in South Africa, whistleblowers and the resilient people of South Africa,” she said in a statement.
“Particularly, the complainants, for their resolute stance and efforts against corruption and related maladies.”
Madonsela, who will receive the award in Berlin, Germany on Friday evening, was convinced the award also recognised the efforts of South Africa’s government in creating and respecting a formidable legal and institutional framework for preventing and combating corruption.
There was recognition that to achieve social justice the state must regulate fairly and justly and, where appropriate, provide basic services to the people. But corruption was a virus that undermined all such efforts. The accolade was further assurance that democratic South Africa was still on track in terms of claiming its place as a global citizen committed to good governance.
It was also committed to ridding itself of corruption and other maladies that undermined good governance, constitutional democracy and the rule of law, Madonsela said. South Africa had the necessary laws, institutions and will among its people, and leaders, to pursue good governance while shunning corruption, considered a societal and global problem.
“It is an honour and privilege to be recognised as part of a nation that is committed to doing the right thing for all its people,” Madonsela said. She thanked institutions such as Transparency International for taking an interest in domestic and global governance, saying that this recognises that “as long as there is injustice somewhere, sustainable peace cannot be enjoyed anywhere”.
Around 127 nominations were submitted to Transparency International for this year’s award. On Friday, Corruption Watch, which had written an endorsement letter to Transparency International’s Integrity awards committee, said the award represented a “gratifying show of support from the global community”.
Executive director David Lewis said in a statement that the award was a clear demonstration of the wide-reaching impact of the exemplary way in which Madonsela had maintained the integrity of her office and fulfilled her role in this country. Her high-profile cases include finding earlier this year that President Jacob Zuma and his family had unduly benefited from the R246-million upgrade of his private Nkandla estate in KwaZulu-Natal.
She had also recommended Zuma pay back a portion of the cost. In April, Madonsela was named in Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Her acting spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe, said Transparency International was a global movement, formed in 1993, with a mission to stop corruption and promote transparency, accountability and integrity at all levels and across all sectors of society.
“Its Integrity Awards were created in 2000 to recognise the courage and determination of the many individuals and organisations fighting corruption around the world.” SAPA