Adv Thuli Madonsela – State Capture

Adv Thuli Madonsela – State Capture was born in Johannesburg in 1962, the daughter of informal traders Bafana and Nomasonto, and grew up in Soweto. She graduated with a BA in Law from the University of Swaziland in 1987, and an LLB from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1990. In 2015, Thuli Madonsela was awarded a Doctor of Laws degree, LL.D. (Honoris causa) from the University of Stellenbosch.

She was further awarded another Doctor of Laws degree, LL.D. (Honoris causa) from the University of Cape Town. She also has an honorary doctorate from Rhodes University and the University of Fort Hare. Book through Conference Speakers


Adv Thuli Madonsela - State Capture

Adv Thuli Madonsela – State Capture

Adv Thuli Madonsela – State Capture



Adv Thuli Madonsela-State Capture during the apartheid era served in the ANC and in the United Democratic Front anti-apartheid organisation. She believes that holding political office would not be her “best contribution as a human being”. In 1994 she declined the position of ANC MP in South Africa’s first post-apartheid Parliament.


Early career

Adv Thuli Madonsela worked for trade unions and in both the public and private sectors from the 1980s. She was a member of the team who drafted the final constitution of South Africa promulgated by then President Nelson Mandela in 1996.

After Mandela’s death, Madonsela said in a tribute to him: “We will always admire him for gladly submitting his administration to the scrutiny of checks and balances such as the courts and institutions supporting democracy when its actions came into question.”

Prior to her appointment as Public Protector, Adv Thuli Madonsela served as a full-time member of the South African Law Reform Commission, appointed to the position in 2007 by then President Thabo Mbeki.


Public Protector

Adv Thuli Madonsela was appointed Public Protector by President Jacob Zuma for a non-renewable seven-year term commencing 2009, with unanimous support from the multi-party National Assembly.

At the announcement of her appointment, Zuma said Madonsela “will need to ensure that this office continues to be accessible to ordinary citizens and undertakes its work without fear or favour”. Madonsela likens her role as Public Protector to the Venda chief’s paternal aunt known as the makhadzi, a non-political figure who “gives the people a voice while giving the traditional leader a conscience”.


In 2012, she investigated “kickbacks” received by Julius Malema in the context of traffic department contracts given to external contractor On-Point Engineering.


“Secure in Comfort” report

As Public Protector, Madonsela investigated complaints regarding public spending on Zuma’s private homestead in the KwaZulu-Natal town of Nkandla. Her final report on security upgrades to Zuma’s homestead titled Secure in Comfort was published on 19 March 2014.

Madonsela found that Zuma had benefited unduly from the R246 million the state had spent on the upgrades.

Her report has been met with much criticism and opposition from representatives of the ANC ruling party. Shortly before her final report was made public, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and cabinet minister Lindiwe Sisulu made public statements undermining Madonsela and her report, with Mantashe calling it a “political report”.


After its publication, the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) called for Madonsela’s resignation, and members of the ANCYL and the ANC-aligned Congress of South African Students (COSAS) made disparaging remarks about her. COSAS, which had been admonished by female cabinet minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula for a “sexist” remark, subsequently retracted “a personal address to comrade Madonsela”. View further Speakers Listed Q-Z


ANC chief whip Stone Sizani said “we strongly believe that she has overstepped the mark” by making some “disparaging remarks” with “political overtones”. A group of lawyers from KwaZulu-Natal started a public campaign to discredit her report, and she was accused of having a political agenda by cabinet minister Fikile Mbalula.

On 4 July 2014, ANC MPs in the justice portfolio committee objected to Madonsela’s “views that are political in nature” and committee chairperson Mathole Motshekga suggested that the powers of the Public Protector, which are governed by the country’s constitution, be reviewed.


Zuma made a submission to Parliament in 2014 regarding Madonsela’s report on Nkandla. Madonsela wrote a letter to Zuma, stating that his submission to Parliament was not an adequate response to her report and requesting a response to her letter by 4 September 2014. Follow CSI on Twitter


During a media briefing on 26 August 2014, Gwede Mantashe criticised her handling of the matter, saying the ANC want her to “behave correctly” and “not abuse” her term of office, while his deputy Jessie Duarte expressed concerns about Madonsela being “populist in her orientation”.

Adv Thuli Madonsela – State Capture subsequently held a press conference on 28 August 2014, in which she defended her actions and requested those ANC members interfering with her duties to stop doing so. The same day, civil rights organisation AfriForum laid criminal charges against Mantashe and Duarte for contravening the Public Protector Act by insulting the Public Protector.

Adv Thuli Madonsela – State Capture

“State of Capture” report

Her final report, “State of Capture”, was released as her 7-year term of office came to an end in October 2016. It catalogued evidence of widespread state capture including the Gupta family’s improper influence over President Jacob Zuma.

Madonsela directed the President to appoint a judicial commission of inquiry, headed by a judge named by the Chief Justice. Zuma called the report “political propaganda” and challenged it in court, but the High Court dismissed the challenge in December 2017, finding that Zuma must implement the remedial actions within 30 days, and making a personal costs order against Zuma.


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