Charter to entrench good governance developed
Delegates at Public Protector Good Governance Conference adopted resolutions that include turning the draft framework on good governance into a Good Governance Charter. The resolutions also included a framework for collaboration among societal structures with a view to entrenching a culture of good governance within state affairs.
This was at the end of a two-day conference that commenced on Monday, October 17, 2011 and forms part of activities characterising the annual Public Protector Good Governance Week, which ends on Saturday, October 2011.
Delegates, who included Chapter Nine institutions, three Cabinet Ministers, two Deputy Ministers, four Chairpersons of Parliamentary Portfolio Committees, Mayors, and leaders of civil society including the faith community and representative of other oversight bodies, also resolved to initiate a national campaign aimed at institutionalising the Good Governance Charter.
This will include designing and popularising a badge and symbol for the good governance campaign and recruiting ambassadors.
The delegates also resolved to popularise global instruments that promote good governance such as the Mo Ibrahim and Rule of Law Indices and to strengthen synergies with all structures engaged in the promotion and enforcement of good governance.
Speaking at the end of the conference on Tuesday, Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela expressed satisfaction that the conference achieved its objective of highlighting the importance of leadership and strengthening synergies among structures that have a critical role in ensuring public accountability in pursuit of good governance.
“It is important that the pursuit of good governance achieves the promises in the Constitution, primarily the betterment of people’s lives and that the pursuit of good governance places equal emphasis on maladministration, ethics and anti-corruption,” she said.
She added that it had to be understood that the country’s constitutional architecture provided for multiple accountabilities for those who exercise public power with a view to strengthening checks and balances. This was to ensure that at all time public power is exercised with the will of the power giving instrument and the power giver.
The Chairpersons of Portfolio Committees that spoke, namely Mr Luwellyn Landers Landers, Prof Ben Turok, Mr Buaong Mashile and Mr Themba Godi, highlighted the role of oversight, particularly by Parliament in ensuring public accountability and good governance.
Representatives of oversight bodies such as the Chairpersons of the Public Service Commission and the Commission on Gender Equality highlighted the importance of support for oversight bodies and collaboration among bodies as important ingredients of effective and sustainable public accountability and good governance.
The Minister of Public Service and Administration Richard Baloyi, who spoke on the second day of the conference, told delegates that if governance was in compliance with Section 195 of the Constitution and the Batho Pele principles, incidences of non-delivery of services and related protests would be drastically reduced.
He said government’s greatest challenge in maintaining good governance was the full implementation of policies and legislation that had been put in place.
“When we assessed impact, we picked up that in as far as policy and legislation we lived up to what was expected. The only problem was implementation,” he said.
Deputy Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene highlighted the problem of abuse of power and corruption in the public service and commended the Public Protector and other oversight institutions for playing a notable role in the fight against corruption.
Also speaking at the conference, respected human rights activist Adv George Bizos said it was not enough to merely have courts to solve problems as processes in such justice avenues were slow and expensive.
Bizos emphasised that this was the reason oversight bodies such as the Chapter Nine institutions were necessary in a democracy. He added that the successes and failures of such bodies depended largely on the support from, among others; the public, rights organisations, Parliament and government.
“Any attack on the judiciary, Public Protector or the Human Rights Commission diminishes their authority and respect which they deserve.”
Other notable speakers included the Premier of the Western Cape Ms Helen Zille, whose presentation highlighted, among others, the remedial aspect of public accountability and the Deputy Minister in the Presidency Ms Dinah Pule.
The Public Protector Good Governance Week aims to enhance access to Public Protector Services while promoting good governance in state affairs.
Other activities include stop shops at shopping malls, unannounced visits at government service points and interaction with traditional leaders.
Meanwhile, the Public Protector will deliver a public lecture on Good Governance at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), Soshanguve South Campus, Student Campus, at 10:00 on Wednesday.
Issued by the Public Protector South Africa. For more information, contact:
Manager: Outreach, Education and Communication
Public Protector South Africa
Tel: 012 366 7035
Cell: 072 264 3273