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Thuli Madonsela: My critics don't know my history

The advocate says those who question her credibility are new ANC members who don’t know her history.

Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.  Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has hit back at her critics within the African National Congress, saying those who have questioned her credibility are new members who don't know her history.

She's been reflecting on her activism during the apartheid struggle, her seven-year tenure as the Public Protector and all the attacks on her office.

The former Public Protector has also clarified claims that the Chapter Nine institution received funding from the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid), saying the money came from the Department of Justice and has never been used due to red tape.

Madonsela says she's found the debates around funding from the US agency "bizarre" because government actually requests and administers the money.

This week, her successor Busisiwe Mkhwebane claimed the office would no longer accept funding from donors, and referred to the $500,000 payment from Usaid.

She has clarified this money was given to government after it invited development agencies to provide funding.

"The US government, through Usaid, gives money to the government of South Africa. They then said that in that money there is a bit of a leftover amount; they were going to ask the Justice Department to then give us that leftover. The negotiations had been taking place around how do we then use that money for non-core business."

At the same time, Madonsela says a greater drive is needed to teach the Constitution to citizens and those in public office.

"When they say 'I swear to uphold up the Constitution', that they know exactly what the contents are, what is the character of the state that must be upheld and what are the obligations of those who exercise public power; and what will be the obligations of the very person who says 'I swear'."