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Thuli Madonsela must 'pay back the money!'

by Ferial Haffajee
07 Feb 2017 at 06:31hrs | Views
Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela should pay back the money.

Here's the story; In 2012, Thuli Madonsela's son Wanda, took his mom's beautiful X6 BMW on a joy ride.

He picked up a friend, then dodged a dog somewhere on the way and then lost control of the wheel and crashed into a wall. The car was an expensive write-off – a R420,000.00 write-off of public money.

In the broader scheme of misdemeanor, it's nothing. As South Africans, we have become inured to waste and mismanagement of our hard-earned money and we barely bat an eye when billions are lost. Most South African tax comes from individuals like you and me with corporations paying a smaller piece of the national spending pie.

Madonsela was the Amazonian guard of the public rand, which she watched over with excellence and an unparalleled zeal. She is the totemic figure of what we want in public servants. She was the ideal for how public money should be spent on the public and guarded from the greedy and the careless. For this, she won national love and international acclaim.

And so, I think Madonsela should pay back the money for Wanda's misdemeanor. It is clear that incumbent protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is motivated by pique and anger, but that is all the more reason for Madonsela to take the higher road.

The former public protector says she took legal advice, which said she was not responsible because her son had not taken the car with her permission. The auditor-general's office agreed with this advice.

With respect, but that is a poor and technical excuse – almost as poor as President Jacob Zuma saying he did not give permission for the R246-million worth of upgrades to his personal estate at Nkandla and therefore was not responsible for them. An ethical stance would see Madonsela take a different view.

Her son took the car and she is responsible for the car as it was in her custodianship. Madonsela has already paid the excess on the insurance but the government insurer refused to pay the principal amount. It is a steep amount, but for her legacy as the ultimate warrior of public ethics and good governance, our best public protector ever should do the right thing and write the cheque.

Source - huffingtonpost