Public Protector launches stakeholder dialogue
Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela on Wednesday launched her office’s annual National Stakeholder Consultative Dialogue in Cape Town, where she stressed that democracy was an on-going dialogue.
The Public Protector told guests that she believed the drafters of South Africa’s Constitution added her office to the pillars of constitutional democracy to strengthen it (democracy) as a dialogue.
When other avenues for ensuring that citizens remained engaged with those they have entrusted with public power failed, her office was there to support the system, she said.
All of these avenues, the Public Protector added, sought to complement each other and not compete with each other.
“A complaining nation is a nation in dialogue,” she said. “Even in ancient times, democracy was never about just electing people and seeing them again after five years at the next election. It has always been a dialogue.”
The Public Protector revealed that this year’s dialogue, which will see her touring all nine provinces and interacting with a variety of stakeholders, will focus on “strengthening government’s ability to deliver on ending poverty, and on other Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”, particularly health.
She explained that this was because improving health and halving poverty by 2015 featured among the eight MDGs that South Africa and other nation states committed themselves to achieve by 2015.
“In two years, it’s accountability time at the United Nations (UN),” the Public Protector said, adding that the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation had revealed that, to date, only 16 countries had managed to address the issue of poverty. In Africa, only Ghana made into the list, she said.
Citing two cases that highlighted impact maladministration on eradicating poverty and improving public healthcare as investigated by her office, the Public Protector said there was a link between the struggle to attain the MGDs and maladministration.
She invited people from all walks of life; including members of the public, organized civil society, legislatures, government, business and political parties to make their voices and actions felt against maladministration in pursuit of the MDGs. This could be done by taking part in the dialogue.
“Make your voice and action count against maladministration in the pursuit of a healthy and poverty free South Africa.
“After all, we all have a role to play in ensuring that ours is an accountable ours is an accountable state that operates with integrity while being responsive to the needs of all its people.
“An accountable government that operates with integrity is better placed to deliver meaningfully on the commitment to end poverty, improve the nation’s health and deliver on all eight MDGs,” she said.
The Public Protector hailed the dialogue as an important means of making her office accessible to the people of South Africa as required by section 182(4) of the Constitution.
She told guests that the dialogue had been used to reach out to remote and marginalized communities since its inception four years ago. It helped raise awareness about the office while bringing its services to communities.
The Public Protector, however, noted that many people still did not know about her office as revealed by a recent study commissioned by the institution.
She said the 33 777 complaints that her office dealt with last year revealed the extent to which the office is underutilized.
“In a country of 52 million people, 34 000 complaints cannot be reflective of the extent of maladministration.”
The dialogue will kick-off in in Vryburg, North West on Wednesday, July 03, 2013 before moving to Mahikeng.
For more information, contact:
Public Protector South Africa
012 366 7006
079 507 0399
0800 11 20 40