Public protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela on Thursday welcomed the announcement that she had been named in the annual list of the most influential people in the world by American news magazine, Time.
Humbled by the gesture, the public protector said she was taken by surprise that the modest efforts of her office were not only been recognised at home but elsewhere in the world too.
“Like several other accolades that have been bestowed on me, I regard my inclusion in the Time 100 as an acknowledgement of the selfless efforts of the public protector team at large,” she said, reacting to the announcement.
“I also hope that this gesture will put the public protector or the ombudsman institution on the world map, therefore alerting governments of the potential of this institution as a partner in promoting good governance, thus strengthening constitutional democracy.”
The public protector added that her team would continue to draw inspiration from the fact that their effort to assist government to identify and eradicate maladministration is an important contribution to public accountability and a stable democracy.
“Corruption Watch is a staunch supporter of the work of the office of the public protector – it is an institution genuinely committed to rooting out maladministration and promoting transparency and good governance in the public sector," said the civil society watchdog's executive director David Lewis. "The fact that the public protector has been thus singled out speaks volumes. It is a tribute to Thuli Madonsela’s courage and independence and that of her colleagues. We join in saluting this pillar of our democracy.”
Madonsela was Corruption Watch's hero of the year for 2012 and 2013.
Scientists, thinkers, philosophers, leaders, icons, artists and visionaries
According to Time, the list, which is now in its 11th year, recognises “the activism, innovation and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals”. The magazine describes Time 100 as “a list of the most influential people in the world” and not a list of the most powerful or smartest people in the world.
These include scientists, thinkers, philosophers, leaders, icons, artists and visionaries, the magazine explained, adding that these were people who were “using their ideas, their visions [and] their actions to transform the world and have an effect on a multitude of people”.
The full list and related tributes appear in the 5 May issue of Time, which will be available on newsstands and tablets on Friday 25 April, and now at time.com/time100.
Praise for Madonsela's courage and patriotism
Madonsela's citation was written by Lamido Sanusi, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 2009 to 2014. Read it below (courtesy of Time):
South Africa's fearless public advocate
Thuli Madonsela is an inspirational example of what African public officers need to be. Her work on constitutional reform, land reform and the struggle for the protection of human rights and equality speaks for itself. As South Africa’s public protector, with her ability to speak truth to power and to address corruption in high places, Madonsela has been outstanding.
To speak about corruption in high places is often subversive and always embarrassing. The machinery of state can be called upon to intimidate or even destroy and eliminate whistle-blowers. It therefore requires extraordinary courage and patriotism to do what Thuli Madonsela has done. Yet in standing up for the truth as she sees it, she has assured herself a place in the history of modern South Africa and among the tiny but growing band of African public servants giving us hope for the future of our continent.