17 October 2014
South Africa’s s Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela has been selected as the winner of the anti-corruption group Transparency International’s Integrity Award for 2014. The Integrity Awards were created in 2000 to recognise those fighting corruption around the world.
Madonsela and her office have investigated corruption from the lowest to the highest levels of South Africa’s government. Despite being subject to intense political scrutiny and pressure she has made her judgements without fear or favour, earning the admiration of South Africans as well as the international community.
The Public Protector’s office was established after the country’s constitution came into effect in 1997. Its mandate is to “investigate complaints against state agencies or officials’. Madonsela became the office head in 2009.
“Thuli Madonsela’s work embodies Transparency International’s deeply held belief that the corrupt should not be allowed to get away with their misdeeds,’ said JC Weliamuna, Chair of Transparency International’s Integrity Awards Committee. “Her unwavering courage and commitment to upholding the rule of law is truly inspirational.’
Madonsela is the first South African to receive an Integrity Award.
Her office dealt with over 35 000 complaints in 2012/13. In spite of financial constraints, she is known for looking into allegations of corruption that hurt the most marginalised and vulnerable communities in South Africa as well as for working closely with civil society.
In an interview with Transparency International, Madonsela said her office aimed to be the “conscience of the state’ and had shown that “corruption is a form of maladministration’.
She said she hopes that South Africans would continue to respect the rule of law, as she believes that the “majority of people in government and civil society believe in a corruption-free South Africa’.
Transparency International’s South Africa partner Corruption Watch’s executive director David Lewis said in a statement that the award was a “clear demonstration of the wide-reaching impact of the exemplary way in which she has maintained the integrity of her office and fulfilled her role in this country’.
In April, Madonsela was named in Time magazine’s annual list of the most 100 influential people in the world.