Public Protector dialogues with Gauteng stakeholders
Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela says the implementation of remedial action emanating from her investigations is a key ingredient for administrative justice and accountability to be possible.
Speaking at a stakeholder consultative forum meeting in Germiston on Wednesday, the Public Protector reiterated that without the implementation of remedial action her office would be a gate to nowhere.
“Diagnosing the problems and issuing reports is not where it should all end. It should not be over until the remedial action is fully implemented,” she told government and civil society representatives at the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Council Chambers.
During their interaction with the Public Protector, representatives of various non-governmental organisations and individuals who spoke in personal capacities raised several issues. These included remedial action that is not implemented, poor service delivery by government, Public Protector turnaround times as well as the institutions’ visibility and accessibility.
Responding to the questions, the Public Protector said certain matters often took long to be resolved because some organs of state were uncooperative during investigations. Adding that this had a negative impact on turnaround times, the Public Protector appealed to organs of state to be cooperative during investigation, emphasizing that they were required by section 181 (3) of the constitution to support her office.
She indicated that while resources remained an impediment on her office’s drive to be accessible to all persons and communities, available avenues such as the toll-free line and outreach programmes were being used to reach communities.
The Public Protector added that her office had the responsibility to ensure administrative justice and to exact accountability in the exercise of public power and control of state resources. In terms of accountability, she said her responsibility includes ensuring that public funds that are acquired unlawfully are paid back and any criminal activities are referred to appropriate authorities for prosecution.
Regarding service failure, the Public Protector told delegates that it was her responsibility to resolve the actual complaint, bringing the complainant as close as possible to where they would have been had the state acted right the first time. This would also include fixing the system to ensure that there are no recurrences.
The Public Protector further indicated that the role of her office should be seen as reconciling the state with its citizens, ensuring that people do not have to embark on violent protests in order to be heard by government.
Delegates agreed that the Public Protector was an important avenue through which ordinary people get administrative justice for grievances against the state instead of using courts which take time and resources. The Public Protector promised to follow up on all complaints raised during the session by engaging with relevant organs of state.
The meeting formed part of a two-month nationwide stakeholder consultative forum launched last week under the theme “The Public Protector Dialogues with the Nation.”
Aimed at soliciting feedback regarding the work of the Public Protector and foster a common understanding of the institution’s mandate and role, the programme focuses on the importance of implementing the Public Protector’s remedial action.
This is for purposes of ensuring administrative justice by organs of state in respect of the state’s dealings with the public and promoting accountability within state affairs in cases of conduct failure.
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