Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela likened the current state of affairs in South Africa to the story of Animal Farm at a panel discussion at Wits earlier today.
“All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others,” she said in reference to the Nkandla report, released yesterday.
[pullquote]“Public power should always be exercised within the confines of the law and the public interest.”[/pullquote]
George Orwell’s celebrated novel about a society of animals who are, after getting rid of the humans, left to their own devices is itself a piece of political commentary. The plot of the book was used by Madonsela to demonstrate corruption and an abuse of power in the South African government.
She went on to speak of the critical role of the South African Constitution particularly in the practices of political office bearers and public servants. “Public power should always be exercised within the confines of the law and the public interest.”
Asked by an audience member whether she felt threatened after the release of the report, Madonsela said, “I don’t feel threatened … the state as a state has not attacked me. Most of the time, people in government listen and want to do the right thing.”
A chicken run, an expensives cattle kraal, a fire pool and a two-storey house overlooking an amphitheatre labelled a ‘visitor’s centre,’ were just some of the “security needs” approved and built by Zuma’s architect, Minenhle Makhanya and a team assigned to the Nkandla estate.
When asked if she found ethical violations in her investigation, Madonsela responded by saying: “He [Zuma] did give parliament incorrect information, but explained this in a believable manner and so I made a finding in his favour.”
According to Madonsela, “everything (at Nkandla) was done cowboy-style. If the person upstairs wants it, then the law and budget doesn’t matter.”
Madonsela is a Wits graduate, earning her LLB degree from the institution in 1990.
Click here to view the Public Protector’s full report