It is very easy to think of Thuli Madonsela and Jacob Zuma with his Nkandla in the same moment. As a matter of fact, many people have come to know of the Public Protector only since the advent of Nkandla. However, there is more to the lady than meets the eye. As you may most probably have learned, the Public Protector’s office falls under what are termed the Chapter nine institutions. It is way up there with the likes of The Human Rights Commission as well as the Independent Electoral Commission. As far as its role is concerned, the key word would be public servant. The Office of the Public Protector is mandated with investigating and reporting on the conduct of public servants. There is no limit to who can be investigated. The cliche ‘with no fear or favour’ rings very true for Madonsela and her office.
The Public Protector has also been called upon to investigate the appointment of the SABC Chief Financial Officer, Gugu Duda. She found, in her investigation that her appointment was irregular and that the former communications minister, Dina Pule, interfered in this appointment. This stemmed from her suspension in 2012 after she had misled the then Group Chief Executive Officer, Lulama Mokhobo, about a R1 million payment to the first ICT Indaba conducted in Cape Town in 2012. In her report entitled ‘When Government Fails’, Madonsela revealed that the Public Broadcaster was fraught with irregular employment practices, massive financial losses and unlawful conduct. Based on this report, which was released last month, the SABC Board Chairman penned a letter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) seeking to effect the dismissal of the disgraced former financial officer. This was summarily granted and Duda was dismissed.
The SABC Board Chairman Zandile Ellen Tshabalala, a few days after the dismissal, was back to announce the replacements. In the place of Gugu Duda, who was the Chief Financial Officer, the chairman announced that James Aguma would move in to act. In replacement for Lulama Mokhobo, Tian Olivier would take over as the new Group Chief Executive Officer.