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German Africa Prize for Thuli Madonsela

South African Public Protector Thuli Madonsela Honored with German Africa Prize

June 03rd, 2016

Some have called her a woman of steel. Others say she is the voice of the voiceless. As the public protector, Thuli Madonsela has worked tirelessly to protect the public from corruption and the numerous incompetence’s made by government institutions and officials. Now she has been awarded the German Africa Foundation's annual prize for exceptional contributions to promoting peace, democracy and human rights.

Madonsela is an ordinary member of the Pretoria branch of the African National Congress (ANC). During the apartheid era, Madonsela served in the ANC and in the United Democratic Front anti-apartheid organisation. She believes that holding political office would not be her "best contribution as a human being". In 1994 she declined the position of ANC MP in South Africa's first post-apartheid Parliament. In January 2014 it was reported that several ANC branches in Gauteng had unsuccessfully nominated her as a candidate to represent the ANC in the National Assembly or one of the provincial legislatures in the 2014 general election. Her spokesperson said she was unaware of the nomination and would not have accepted it.

Thuli Madonsela Madonsela has worked for trade unions and also in both the public and private sectors, since the 1980s. She was a member of the team who drafted the final constitution of South Africa promulgated by the then President, Nelson Mandela in 1996.  After Mandela's death, Madonsela said in a tribute to him: "We will always admire him for gladly submitting his administration to the scrutiny of checks and balances such as the courts and institutions supporting democracy when its actions came into question." Prior to her appointment as Public Protector, Madonsela served as a full-time member of the South African Law Reform Commission, appointed to the position in 2007 by the then President Thabo Mbeki.

Madonsela was appointed public protector by President Jacob Zuma in 2009. Her term in office comes to an end later this year. It's a job established by the constitution to investigate misconduct in state affairs and operates independently of the government. Since her appointment, Madonsela has demanded equal accountability from both the weak and the most powerful.

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News from Berlin
Maurycy Barański, Berlin Global