Independent institutions, civil society are key pillars of the rule of law: Public Protector
The rule of law should be a concern for everyone as it is central to any thriving democracy and the achievement of sustainable development, Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela said on Friday.
She was addressing the 11th Biennial Advocates Africa Convocation in Cape Town, Western Cape, a four-day conference hosted by the Christian Lawyers Association of South Africa.
The Public Protector told delegates at the conference that independent institutions supporting constitutional democracy such as her office and civil society were important pillars of the rule of law.
“Should these institutions and civil society fail, democracy could fail,” she cautioned, explaining that independent institutions in particular were deliberately established to transcend traditional checks and balances such as the executive, the judiciary and the legislature.
The greatest impact her office has made since she assumed duty six years ago, has been getting civil society engaged in how their country and their municipalities were governed, the Public Protector said.
Inroads have also been made in areas of legal and policy reform, administrative justice, executive ethics, corruption and malfeasance. With regard to the latter, the office made an impact in highlighting how development resources were being drained through over charging, overbilling and false billing during the procurement of public goods and services.
The Public Protector told the conference that her office also contributed towards ensuring peace and stability among communities that had engaged in civil unrest due to public service failure.
She cited, as examples, her office’s intervention in the plight of the communities of Dipaleseng in Mpumalanga, Nala in the Free State, Braamfischerville in Gauteng and Olifantshoek in the Northern Cape.
Despite the successes, the Public Protector said, the office faced various stumbling blocks. These included the misinterpretation of its constitutional mandate, under-funding and the resultant implications on brand integrity.
She called on civil society to take over when compliance with her reports failed, reasoning that it was not undesirable for civil society to expect her office to be “a crusader without a sword”.
For more information, contact:
Spokesperson for the Public Protector
Public Protector South Africa
(012) 366 7069
079 507 0399