‘A pedestal of hope” is how former public protector Thuli Madonsela has described the effect of the country’s recent transition of power between former president Jacob Zuma and President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The social justice activist was speaking to journalists after the launch of her foundation’s ground-breaking project, borrowing political party-style tactics to help end poverty through direct community engagement.
The Constitution Hill event was also a celebration of World Social Justice Day.
Asked what she thought of the recent political transition, Madonsela lauded the new leadership in the ANC and the country.
“(Ramaphosa’s) election and the election of the new leadership in the governing party has put the country as a whole on a pedestal of hope, to borrow President Mbeki’s words about Nelson Mandela’s generation. But a pedestal of hope is just a pedestal, it gives us higher ground to jump over to the next phase, it’s not a summit.”
Madonsela also welcomed Zuma’s recent resignation, describing his final address to the nation as “dignified”.
She compared the former president’s exit to that of a sea captain and his crew.
“When you are the captain of a ship there have to be people who are following you. When you get to a point that the people who are supposed to be following you are not being persuaded by you, it’s the ethical thing to step aside.”
Meanwhile Madonsela’s foundation, which she dubs the “Thuma Foundation” was set to kick off an ambitious project she described as an M-plan to divide communities around the country into wards where they would collect data in order assist their disadvantaged residents.
Spearheaded by the NGO Khulisa Social Solutions and working with Constitution Hill and the University of Stellenbosch, the project would also assist non-profit organisations, government and corporates by offering them strategic and sustained support.
In this regard, they have already identified 10 communities to start with.
Madonsela said yesterday that her family had donated R100 000 to buy laptops and computers for underprivileged students.