South Africa’s former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has been awarded this year’s Forbes Africa Person of the Year accolade for her unwavering fight against corruption and “quest to bring inconsistencies to the fore.” Madonsela is the sixth recipient of the prestigious accolade, which started in 2011.
The award is presented to an individual “who, for better or worse, has had the most influence on business on the year gone by”.
Madonsela, an advocate who served as Public Protector from October 2009 to October 2016 ruffled feathers with her uncompromising and refreshing approach, investigating high profile cases, an approach applauded by many South Africans.
Madonsela made headlines when she led investigation, which found gross irregulaties in the use of public funds to make upgrades to President Jacob Zuma’s rural Nkandla homestead. The Public Protector’s report revealed that President Zuma unduly benefited from these upgrades and the Constitutional Court subsequently ruled that Zuma had to pay back some of the funds used for installing non-security features at his Nkandla homestead.
— ABN EventProductions (@abnproductions) November 17, 2016
To claim the prestigious Forbes Africa award in recognition of her fearless work, Madonsela shrugged off competition from two African presidents. She beat Ameenah Gurib, the Mauritian President nominated for spearheading the drive to protect her nation’s environment, and Tanzanian President John Magufuli, who was shortlisted for spearheading “the economic turnaround made to Tanzania’s economy”.
— Prof Thuli Madonsela (@ThuliMadonsela3) November 17, 2016
The other nominees were South Africa’s Michiel le Roux, the founder of Capitec Bank shortlisted for his role in making banking more accessible for South Africans, and the People of Rwanda, nominated in recognition of how the country has reformed, focusing on gender equality.
This year marks the first time that the award has been won by an individual who is not a business person. In the past, the award has been won by accomplished entrepreneurs.
2015 Mohammed Dewji Ceo of Metl Group entrepreneur and philanthropist.
2014 Aliko Dangote Chairman & Ceo of The Dangote Group, Nigeria
2013 Akinwumi Adesina Minister Of Agriculture And Rural Development For Nigeria
2012 James Mwangi Ceo Of Equity Bank, Kenya
2011 Sanusi Lamido Sanusi Governor Of The Central Bank Of Nigeria