Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIWE SIBEKO

PUBLIC Protector Thuli Madonsela has reiterated her conviction that peace without social justice is pie in the sky.

"As long as there is injustice somewhere‚ sustainable peace cannot be experienced anywhere‚" she said on Monday.

Ensuring social justice was the responsibility of society as much as that of the powers that be.

On the tertiary fees issue‚ Madonsela said students could not afford to cut off their noses to spite their faces.

"Young persons can fast-track the delivery of the South African dream without bricks‚ stones and fire‚ and when normal dialogue fails‚ they can make use of other constitutional avenues such as the public protector‚ the South African Human Rights Commission and petitions." Madonsela was speaking during a dialogue session at North West University‚ ahead of a public lecture in Mahikeng.

She noted that protesters in the 1970s did not burn down infrastructure they were going to need — just as when one was unhappy at one’s home‚ one did not set alight the house one would need for shelter.

She said fees must fall only for those who could not afford them; otherwise resources meant for the disadvantaged would be lost to those who were historically advantaged and those who were well-off due to the fruits of democracy.

Madonsela lamented that there was a link between social injustice and corruption, in that corruption stole resources that should fund national development. She said young people should include the scourge of corruption among their grievances.

She concluded by assuring the university community that social justice could be achieved only if there was a realisation that "the power of intelligence lies in the mind"‚ and calling on students to "use their minds to make a difference".

TMG Digital