Thuli Madonsela humbled by ACFE award | October 8, 2014

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is humbled by an award from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), her office said on Wednesday.

She accepted the award on Tuesday night for her contribution to the anti-fraud profession, it said in a statement.

“The accolade was bestowed on her by the ACFE at a gala dinner attended by certified fraud examiners and auditors from 39 countries at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Madonsela hosted her Swedish counterpart, chief parliamentary ombud Elisabet Fura, at a discussion on the role of ombuds in ensuring accountability in a democracy.

Madonsela said she was happy her colleague had clarified that the powers of ombud institutions varied from one country to the next, depending on the law and cultural and historical context of each country.

“This is why you can’t say to us ‘why don’t you act like a normal ombudsman?’ as some have previously said to me,” Madonsela said.

Delegates at the discussion heard that, like Madonsela, Fura reported on her office’s activities to Parliament, published her investigation reports, used moral suasion or persuasive power to ensure compliance with decisions, and could refer her reports to Parliament for implementation.

Madonsela said reducing her office’s powers to making mere recommendations would negatively affect those seeking informal administrative justice.

Last month opposition parties withdrew from the parliamentary committee dealing with upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead, saying they would not legitimise a process they claimed was designed to shield him from liability for alleged abuse of state funds.

They walked out after the ruling party refused to agree to call Zuma to answer questions and to enforce Madonsela’s directive that he repay a portion of R246 million spent on refurbishing his private KwaZulu-Natal home.

African National Congress MP Mathole Motshekga previously told the committee the “majority of legal minds” agreed with the president’s view that remedies put forward by the public protector were not binding.

“Our view is that remedial action is not binding, it has the status of recommendations,” he said, adding that the country’s courts had not pronounced definitively on the matter.

The opposition parties said on October 3 that they would table their own report on the matter in Parliament.

– Sapa

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