Public Protector engages North West stakeholders
The importance of addressing service and conduct failure complaints at municipal or departmental levels before the grievances could be escalated to the Public Protector will take center stage this week as Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane visits the JB Marks Municipality in North West.
Adv. Mkhwebane is on a nationwide roadshow to hold talks with government and other relevant stakeholders on the importance of addressing complaints at local or provincial levels before the grievances could be escalated to her office.
She is calling on the organs of state to establish internal complaints resolution units, customer service units or sectoral ombudsman institutions within the provincial government.
The roadshow commenced in Mpumalanga in July and has already visited Limpopo this month. It brings together an array of interested parties, including representatives of the provincial government, municipalities, traditional authorities as well as various civil society organizations.
It seeks to give effect to Pillar 7 of the Public Protector Vision 2023 – a detailed plan which is essentially about taking the institution’s services to the grassroots. Pillar 7 encourages organs of state to establish effective internal complaints resolution units, customer service units or sectoral ombudsman offices.
While it is true that the Public Protector’s mandate is broad, covering any and every administrative action within state affairs to the exclusion of court decisions, it is also correct that not every case must necessarily be brought to the institution.
“This is precisely why it is critical for organs of state to establish effective complaints resolution units, customer service units or sector-specific ombudsman institutions in the mould of the Health, Tax and Military Ombudsman,” Adv. Mkhwebane said.
That way individual cases that would ordinarily clog her office’s system would be handled by such institutions, allowing her team of investigators to focus on systemic and own-initiative matters.
Adv. Mkhwebane added that organs of state also need to develop Service Standards and Customer Service charters in line with the Batho Pele principles. This, she explained, would go a long way to put the power back in the hands of the public to hold their leaders to account.
The Public Protector is scheduled to address students and management at North West University (NWU) in Potchefstroom as well as municipal, provincial and civil society representatives during her visit.
Adv. Mkhwebane’s meeting with students will take place as follows:
- Date : Thursday, 23 August 2018
- Time : 12H00
- Venue : North West University, Potchefstroom
The meeting with municipal and provincial government representatives is scheduled as follows:
- Date : Friday, 24 August 2018
- Time : 09H00
- Venue : JB Marks Municipal Council Chambers, Potchefstroom