Former South African public protector and lawyer Thulisile Madonsela has been named the “Forbes Person of the Year,” effectively making her the most influential business person in Africa in 2016. The news was revealed in a tweet from the magazine’s Twitter handle during the sixth annual awards dinner at the Radisson Blu hotel in Nairobi, Kenya.
— Forbes Africa (@forbesafrica) November 17, 2016
Madonsela was recognized for her courage in bringing corruption and inconsistencies to the forefront, despite facing death threats.
The publication of the report has effectively made her an enemy of the state and just last week the government issued a gag order against her.
The 54-year-old former public prosecutor has taken Zuma to court over corruption allegations twice, according to eNCA.
In the first instance, President Zuma was ordered to repay state funds which he had unlawfully used to renovate his Nkandla home. In his second appearance in court, he was ordered to allow Madonsela to publish the incriminating report.
According to BBC, President Zuma has survived three motions of no-confidence passed against him by the opposition this year based on the report. However, as president of the ruling African National Congress political party, he has yet to strip Madonsela of her membership.
Since the report was released, South Africans have called for the resignation of those implicated, including two executives of state electric company, Eskom. The company’s former CEO, Brian Molefe, and board member Mark Peminsky, both resigned earlier this week, according to Reuters.
The Eskom executives are accused of being involved in the irregular allocation of mining tenders.
Madonsela had to beat out other qualified nominees for the award, including Mauritius and Tanzanian president’s, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim and John Magufuli.
Other nominees included South Africa businessman Michiel Le Roux and the People of Rwanda.
Madonsela joins five other winners of the prestigious award, including Tanzanian businessman Mohammed Dewji in 2015, Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote in 2014, Nigerian banker Akinwumi Adesina in 2013, Kenyan banker James Mwangi in 2012, and the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Lamido Sanusi in 2011.
Madonsela has set a precedent by becoming the first woman, the first lawyer, and the first South African to hold the Forbes title.