New Public Protector office to serve over 420 Limpopo villages
A new Public Protector regional office opened its doors in Thohoyandou, Limpopo at the beginning of April 2021 to bring services closer to more than 420 rural villages in central Vhembe District. This follows the closure of the underutilised office further north in Musina.
Explaining the decision to relocate the office to Thohoyandou, Public Protector Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane said the move was value for money since the bulk of the provincial caseload is made up of complaints from the province’s Vhembe area.
“The low number of complaints received from communities in and around Musina could not justify the upkeep of the erstwhile office in the country’s northernmost town,” she said, adding that in some months the old office could not receive a single complaint.
“However, communities in Musina should not despair as an alternative and less costly arrangement will be made to meet their needs. This will include monthly visitations by our Outreach Officers at preannounced venues in the area to collect complaints.”
The new regional office, which is located at Sibasa Embassy PTN on 1 Farm Mphaphuli LT, is the second walk-in service centre in the province after the provincial office in Polokwane. In terms of section 182(4) of the Constitution, the Public Protector must be accessible to all persons and communities.
Moreover, the Public Protector Vision 2023, the essence of which is to take the services of the institution to grassroots communities, places emphasis on access to services and the expansion of the office’s footprint, among other things. It also provides for the leveraging of stakeholder relations and sealing agreements in that regard in Memoranda of Understanding (MoU).
One such MoU was entered into with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. In terms of that agreement, Public Protector complaint drop-boxes will be installed at certain Magistrates’ Courts across the country to enhance access to services. Similar agreements are being explored with the South African Post Office, among other stakeholders.
Meanwhile, the public is reminded that walk-ins remain suspended at all 18 Public Protector offices across the country until further notice. Complaints can be lodged via email on firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, the public is advised to visit the Public Protector website, www.pprotect.org.