South African public protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela will deliver the Griffiths and Victoria Mxenge Memorial Lecture at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) later this month.
The lecture is held annually by the Faculty of Law to honour the memory of Victoria and Griffiths Mxenge and the important roles they played in the struggle to liberate South Africans from the shackles of apartheid.
Since taking office in October 2009, Madonsela had been determined in tackling official abuse of public resources, which has led to the sacking of at least two Cabinet ministers and the suspension of the national police commissioner last year. She was chosen as the Johannesburg Press Club’s 2011 Newsmakers of the Year for her “unfailing, direct and courageous stance against immoral activities”.
Madonsela’s lecture, titled “The Constitutional Importance of Ensuring Accountability to the Public”, will be held on Thursday, 22 March at 18h30 for 19h00 at the South Campus Auditorium.
Advocate Madonsela, appointed as South Africa’s third Public Protector, was born in Johannesburg in 1962. The daughter of a domestic worker and an informal trader, her interest in the law was ignited by her father’s regular run-ins with the law regarding informal trading licenses. In 1987 she completed her BA Law degree at the University of Swaziland and obtained her LLB degree at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1990. Her postgraduate studies include a partial LLM degree and legal courses in the areas of equality, constitutional analysis, administrative justice, legal drafting and public administration.
She is also trained in strategic planning, scenario planning and project management and has participated in several executive management and leadership courses.
At the time of her appointment as Public Protector in 2009, she was the only full time commissioner in the South African Law Reform Commission where, in addition to managing the commission’s entire programme, she also served as the project leader for specific projects, such as the Statutory Law Revision Project.
Currently, she is also Chairperson of the Centre for Reconciliation and Equality Studies and member of the South African Law Reform Commission.
Madonsela will be following in the footsteps of other legal heavyweights – Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke and retired Constitutional Justice Albie Sachs – in presenting her lecture.
According to NMMU Law Dean Prof Vivienne Lawack-Davids Griffiths and Victoria Mxenge were human rights lawyers and political activists who worked tirelessly to defend the human rights of others and paid the ultimate price in the struggle for liberation.
“They epitomise the symbols the Faculty wishes to convey to its students, stakeholders and to the broader community.
“They were both silenced by their oppressors rather than being ‘silent in the face of injustice’. Our faculty wants to ensure that through the annual Griffiths and Victoria Mxenge Memorial Lecture, that their legacy will be preserved for time immemorial. It will remind us of what we are being called to do in pursuit of justice,” says Prof Lawack-Davids.
Griffiths Mxenge was banned and jailed on Robben Island. He was brutally murdered on 19 November 1981 and his body dumped near the Umlazi cycle track in Durban. In July 1985 Victoria was attacked by four men in her driveway in Umlazi.
The inaugural Griffiths and Victoria Memorial Lecture was held by Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke and his speech was titled: “Establishing Social Consensus on the Shifting Boundaries between Judicial and Executive Functions of the State – Lessons from the Recent Past”.
The Second Griffiths and Victoria Memorial Lecture was held by retired Constitutional Justice Albie Sachs and his address was titled: “Imperatives and Dilemmas of Transformation: A Constitutional Perspective”.
The lecture is open to the public, but limited seats are available. Anyone who wishes to attend the lecture should contact Nicole Ho Chong before Thursday 16 March at firstname.lastname@example.org.