Zuma's exit was dignified – Madonsela

Former PP says having Ramaphosa as President has put country on a pedestal of hope

Zuma's exit was dignified - Madonsela

20 February 2018

Johannesburg – Jacob Zuma's exit as president was dignified, according to former public protector Thuli Madonsela.

"When you are the captain of the ship, there have to be people following you, whether you are doing well or badly…

"When you get to a point where the people that are supposed to be following you, the people that you are supposed to influence or persuade to behave in a particular way, are not being persuaded, influenced or inspired… because of your leadership, it is a good thing to step aside," she said.

Madonsela was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of 2018 World Social Justice Day at Constitution Hill.

On her thoughts about President Cyril Ramaphosa, she said: "At the moment, his election and change in the leadership in the governing party has put the country as a whole on the pedestal of hope."

However, she added: "A pedestal of hope is just a pedestal. It gives us higher ground to jump onto the next phase, it is not a summit. So, it will take all of us joining hands with the president and the governing parties in all provinces and municipalities to build the South Africa of our dreams.

"We cannot just look at government and say it must do everything. From government, we need diligence, integrity, fairness, so that we will play our part to make sure that we close the gap."

When asked if she would consider working with Ramaphosa and his administration, she said: "At this stage, I believe that my calling is to work with civil society".

Madonsela, who is currently the chairperson of Social Justice in the law faculty at Stellenbosch University, said last year that the country was on the verge of the winter of despair.

She said that, during Nelson Mandela's generation, "part of the problem is that civil society had become bystanders. Democracy must be rooted in the people, because it is about the people and people's power.

"Where I am right now is about people, particularly, young people."

Earlier, she said World Social Justice Day in South Africa was a collaborative venture between the Thuli Madonsela "Thuma" Foundation, Khulisa Solutions, Constitution Hill, Stellenbosch University, and other partners.

She said the idea was to start a process called the "M" (Musa) plan, which is based on the experience of Palesa Musa, who was arrested at the age of 13 on June 16, 1976.

"The idea is to never again to have some among us left behind."

Madonsela said World Social Justice Day was a UN initiative and the rest of the world used the event to celebrate the day.

"Each one of us should and can lift someone up. We owe it to each other. It is part of Ubuntu (I am because we are), if I improve your fortunes, my fortunes will improve.

"If we allow many of us to be left behind, peace is going to elude us," she said.