thuli madonsela

South Africa’s Public Protector steps down

(DW/DPA/Antonio Cascais/Thuso Khumalo)

Thuli Madonsela, South Africa’s fearless anti-corruption fighter, is stepping down on Saturday October 15.

Madonsela, nicknamed ‘Woman of Steel,’ battled for years in her capacity as South Africa’s public protector against corruption and in defense of the country’s constitution, DW reported on Friday.

South Africa, alongside Nigeria, seems to have become one of the most corrupt countries in Africa.

The 53-year-old mother of two was honored with the German Africa Foundation Prize for her exceptional contributions to promoting peace, democracy and human rights, and her commitment to fighting corruption.

“She was brilliant at her job,” anti-corruption activist Paul Holden told DW.  Holden works for Corruption Watch which was founded in 2009, the year in which Madonsela took office as public protector.

“She always fought to remain independent of government, was unflinching when pursuing her investigations especially when the mighty and the powerful were involved,” he explained.

“That’s why she is one of the most popular figures in South Africa today.”

The voice of the voiceless, as she was also known in some quarters, famously took on President Jacob Zuma over the use of taxpayers’ money to upgrade his birthplace home in Nkandla, Kwazulu Natal Province.

Her determination to restore good governance also led her to bring down powerful figures such as Pantsy Tlakula and Bheki Cele, among others.

Tlakula is the former Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and Cele is a former police boss. Both resigned in 2009 and 2011, respectively, after the ‘Iron Lady’ found a myriad of serious irregularities in their handling of the state resources.

Madonsela also found Julius Malema of corruption. Malema is the former ANC Youth League president and current Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) fiery leader. The public protector’s office investigation found that his family trust had benefited unduly from a tender given to his friends.

(additional reporting and final editing by Issa Sikiti)

Photo: South Africa’s outgoing Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. credit: DW/Getty Images/AFP

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