Madonsela makes 'Time' 100 list

The annual list includes the likes of Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin and Edward Snowden.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela enjoys a lighter moment during the EWN/Wits Nkandla Discussion, Johannesburg, 20 March 2014. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has been named as one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world.

The annual list includes the likes of United States President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and whistleblower on US spying practices Edward Snowden.

The list, which is now in its 11th year, recognises "the activism, innovation and achievement of the world's most influential individuals," according to Time.

The publication describes Madonsela as South Africa's "fearless public advocate", citing her work on constitutional and land reform as well as her struggle for the protection of human rights.

The 51-year-old public protector is described as an inspirational example of what African public officers need to be, with Time adding that her job requires extraordinary courage and patriotism.

In her response to the honour, Madonsela says she's humbled and sees the accolade as recognition of the work of everyone in her office.

She says she's surprised that her team's "modest efforts" are being recognised not only at home, but also elsewhere in the world.

"Like several other accolades that have been bestowed on me, I regard my inclusion in the Time 100 as an acknowledgement of the selfless efforts of the Public Protector team at large," she said.

Madonsela recently released a highly anticipated report into how nearly R250 million was spent on President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home, finding that he unduly benefitted from the upgrades to the property.

She called on Zuma to account to Parliament about the upgrades and pay back part of the expenses.

Zuma, however, claims he never asked for the work to be done and vowed not to pay a cent.

In his mandatory response to Parliament, the president said he would await the release of a separate report by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) before commenting further.

That report is only expected to be released after the 7 May elections.