29/01/2017 18:16 SAST | Updated 29/01/2017 18:25 SAST

'Corruption Is One Of The Thieves Stealing The South African Dream,' says Thuli Madonsela

We need ethical and responsible leaders to overcome corruption, says the former Public Protector.

REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
Former Public Protector advocate Thuli Madonsela

South Africa needs active citizens who will take responsibility for the future they want, says former Public Protector advocate Thuli Madonsela.

Madonsela, writing in City Press on Sunday, wrote about the challenges facing South Africa and how to turn things around.

"It starts with active citizens that are the first to lay the building blocks for the country that they want. As they take personal responsibility to build the future they want, citizens should ensure that they elect competent and committed leaders to manage public power and resources, while simultaneously holding such people accountable," wrote Madonsela, who is in the U.S. starting a year-long fellowship at Harvard University.

She said there were an "abundance" of such people in South Africa and young people were a critical part of this group, but those youngsters need to be invested in, particularly with education.

"One of the tests will be how we deal with the #FeesMustFall challenge this year. Will we regress into anarchy or will we reach that elusive breakthrough that ensures no child who has a place at university loses it because of poverty?" said Madonsela.

And corruption did not escape a mention.

"Corruption is one of the thieves stealing the South African dream. Will we handle the scourge of corruption decisively and consistently regardless of who is implicated this year?" she said.

"Will we investigate all that needs to be investigated and take decisive steps to recover public funds where they must be recovered? Will we ensure no business alliances control state appointments and related control of public power and resources?"

This all "rises and falls with leadership", she said, calling for ethical and responsible leaders.

Madonsela did not mention her successor as Public Protector, advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane.