Thuli Madonsela on tackling corruption: ‘Part of the solution is not electing a corrupt person’

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela says strict punishment is the solution to deal with corrupt individuals.

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela says no exceptions should be made in holding corrupt individuals accountable. File photo.
Image: Esa Alexander/Sunday Times

Madonsela this week shared her views on what should happen to people found guilty of stealing from taxpayers.

Speaking on Debating Africa, Madonsela said corrupt individuals should face the consequences of their wrongdoing.

“Having stricter punishment for people who are corrupt is part of the solution. But it’s like crime, where often people say they want the death penalty.

“The problem is if the rest of the system is working, you will have the death penalty but nobody to be hanged, and therefore you need to improve the accountability system.”

Madonsela said no exceptions should be made in holding corrupt individuals accountable.

“I think the weapon we are not using enough is the weapon of not electing the corrupt. Most of the time we know that this person has stolen money from government, but they make us big promises and we put them in power. So part of the solution is making sure we don’t elect a corrupt person.”

Madonsela has been vocal about tackling corruption in SA, calling it the greatest violation of social justice.

She told 702 that corruption not only creates an uneven playing field, but also “steals resources meant to address the legacy of colonialism, apartheid, patriarchy and other injustices in the past.”

Previously, Madonsela urged South Africans to not wait for corrupt leaders to be found guilty in a court of law to remove them from power.

“The corrupt are mobilising for the support of the people from whom they have stolen.”

She said social justice is important if SA wanted to make progress in the fight against corruption.

“If we want SA to do better using the opportunities presented by Covid-19 we will have to do better on three fronts — social justice, ethical governance and rule of law,” she said.

“We have to stop saying we are going to deal with people and remove them from power once they have been found guilty in a criminal court. We have to remove them when they are unethical, because that’s what the constitution says.”

TimesLIVE (TMG Digital)

Unathi Nkanjeni

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