Public Pro­tec­tor’s daugh­ter causes a stir

CityPress - - News - ELAINE SWANEPOEL news@city­ – Rap­port

Public Pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela’s daugh­ter raised eye­brows when she said her mother “sup­ports” an Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers (EFF) pro­ject at the Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria (UP).

Law stu­dent Wen­zile Madon­sela (23) is the sec­re­tarygen­eral of the stu­dent branch of the EFF on the Tuks cam­pus. She is par­tic­u­larly ac­tive in a cam­paign that is try­ing to bring at­ten­tion to the poor ad­min­is­tra­tion of the gov­ern­ment bur­sary pro­gramme, the Na­tional Stu­dent Fi­nan­cial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

Ear­lier this year, she sug­gested that the of­fice of the Public Pro­tec­tor was help­ing to raise money for their cam­paign to find ac­com­mo­da­tion for a stu­dent, who was iden­ti­fied only as Jack­son, whose NSFAS money had not been paid.

A news ar­ti­cle ap­pear­ing in the stu­dent news­pa­per Perdeby in March quoted her as say­ing that the Public Pro­tec­tor’s of­fice sup­ported the cam­paign and “will also help to raise funds”. This week, Wen­zile told City Press’ sis­ter news­pa­per, Rap­port: “My mother sup­ports the pro­ject. We are busy com­pil­ing a register of all the UP stu­dents with in­suf­fi­cient fund­ing and will hand it over to the Public Pro­tec­tor for in­ves­ti­ga­tion. My mother said she would take up the is­sue with the min­is­ter of [higher] ed­u­ca­tion.”

Wen­zile says she thinks her mother was a lot like her when she was younger: “I’m al­most cer­tain she also wore a beret.” Ear­lier this year, when she was elected to the EFF lead­er­ship at the univer­sity, Wen­zile tweeted: “It’s an hon­our for me to be of ser­vice to the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers and I won’t apol­o­gise for it. To­gether with the party, I want to move for­ward.” Madon­sela’s of­fice on Fri­day de­nied sug­ges­tions of a con­flict of in­ter­est if the Public Pro­tec­tor in­ves­ti­gates com­plaints brought by Wen­zile.

Madon­sela’s spokesper­son, Kgalalelo Ma­sibi, said the re­port in Perdeby that the Public Pro­tec­tor’s of­fice was help­ing raise funds for the pro­ject was in­cor­rect.

But she said Madon­sela could not look the other way when a com­plaint was brought to her at­ten­tion “just be­cause her daugh­ter is in­volved in a small as­pect of the same is­sue”. Ma­sibi says the Public Pro­tec­tor this year re­ceived six sep­a­rate com­plaints from across the coun­try about the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the NSFAS.

“The first com­plaint was in Jan­uary, even be­fore her daugh­ter was ad­mit­ted as a stu­dent at the Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria.”

She said Wen­zile’s com­plaint was re­ferred to the SA Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion on the rec­om­men­da­tion of the Public Pro­tec­tor be­cause it in­volved stu­dents sleep­ing in bath­rooms be­cause they had no other ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Ma­sibi said other com­plaints re­ceived from the UP cam­pus were be­ing han­dled by Madon­sela’s deputy, Kevin Malunga, and any sug­ges­tions that those is­sues re­ceived pri­or­ity treat­ment were un­true.

Ma­sibi said Madon­sela was not sure “what her daugh­ter means with her state­ment that she is sup­port­ing her cam­paign”.

“As a mother, and not the Public Pro­tec­tor, she sup­ports ev­ery­thing her daugh­ter does, as long as it con­trib­utes to the bet­ter­ment of our so­ci­ety.”

In an in­ter­view with Drum in July, Madon­sela said she was proud of her daugh­ter’s cam­paigns to raise money for stu­dents who haven’t re­ceived their funds from the NSFAS.

“I don’t be­lieve in all of the EFF’s ideas, but I do be­lieve it’s nec­es­sary for the youth to cause an up­roar,” she told Drum.

Wen­zile Madon­sela (above), the

daugh­ter of Thuli Madon­sela (be­low), is the sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the stu­dent branch of the

EFF at Tuks

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