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Madonsela challenges her critics

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By Ahmed Areff

 

Johannesburg - People in positions of power needed to provide proof that the office of Pubic Protector Thuli Madonsela is biased, she said on Friday.

“If you want to say there are inconsistencies in reports, you should be able to say that,” she said.

“But you can't accuse me of being biased without pointing out specific provisions in my reports that don't make sense.”

Madonsela was speaking at a Daily Maverick conference in Johannesburg.

She said officials had “maligned” her in public and claimed she was linked to political parties without providing proof.

“Sometimes in our country there are people who see the phrase 'speak truth to power' as a swearword or a phrase that is trying to shame or embarrass those who exercise power,” she said.

“Speaking truth to power is an act of friendship, it is not an act of destabilisation. Telling lies to those in power is a destructive act, because when they are headed for a cliff and you tell them it's all rosy... you are leading them to failure.”

She said the government needed to be more open to working with her office.

“We believe that government should say what it means and mean what it says,” Madonsela said.

“If it does this, this would mean that when we investigate we would get full collaboration, and when we make findings there will be no difficulty with implementation.”

She also criticised the government's procurement methods.

“When it comes to procurement services within the state, there hasn't been due diligence and in the process the state has been robbed blind - cheated totally.”

Madonsela used the example of a one-month-old company receiving a tender when there were other more qualified and deserving companies.

She said her office received about 20,000 complaints last year. Most were from individuals who had personal issues with service delivery.

There were “warning signs” that the country was headed towards a situation like the Arab Spring uprisings.

“(However) we are not there yet,” Madonsela said. - Sapa

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