Public Protector’s daughter causes a stir
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