Advocate Thule Madonsela served as the Public Protector of South Africa from 19 October 2009 to 14 October 2016. Her tenure was marked with the courage and determination to ensure that truth and justice prevails in the many cases that crossed her desk.
It is her integrity and tenacity that has endeared her to the South Africa public.
In 2014, following two years of investigation, she determinedly and without hesitation released the much-anticipated Nkandla report. The report exposed the wasteful expenditure of tax payer's money on upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's private residence in KwaZulu-Natal.
She emerged from that tumultuous period of attacks on her office and court battles as the people's leader and set an incredibly high standard for her successor to follow.
Her role as defender of the people has been recognised both locally and abroad. This year she was honoured by Forbes Africa as their 'Person of the Year'. She is only the fifth person to receive the accolade and was nominated alongside South African Capitec Bank co-founder, Michiel le Roux, Tanzania’s popular President John Magufuli, Mauritian President Ameenah Gurib and the people of Rwanda.
The BBC also included Madonsela in its list of inspirational and influential women for 2016 for her role in combating maladministration and corruption in the exercise of state power and control over public resources.
She was also listed as one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2014 and hailed as 'South Africa's fearless public advocate'.
At home she received the Lead SA Leadership Award, an award bestowed on South African Changemakers who have consistently applied their leadership to make a difference in the country.
Leadership is synonymous with Advocate Madonsela, who has proved time and again, to be a woman of outstanding class and bravery.
From the entire team at Lead SA, and from the millions of South Africans who you inspire, thank you, Thuli!