Public Protector presents paper at an international conference on integrity
Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela has returned from Curacao in the Caribbean Islands, where she attended the Sixth Biennial Conference of the Caribbean Ombudsman Association (CAROA) and presented a paper on integrity.
Held under the theme “Integrity – The Foundation of Good Governance”, the five-day conference brought together ombudsman, legal luminaries and scholars from countries such as United States, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Caribbean countries such as Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, St Lucia and Curacao.
As special guest speaker, the Public Protector delivered a paper titled “Making Integrity Real – Challenges and Lessons of Experience”, wherein she referred to cases her office dealt with recently, that had highlighted integrity challenges for the office and the state in South Africa.
In her paper, she highlighted the importance of integrity as a pillar of good governance and the need for the state to buy into the value of integrity and good governance.
“If the Ombudsman is to succeed in giving a voice to the people while reconciling the state and citizens, trustworthiness is paramount,” the Public Protector said.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the conference, delegates concurred that integrity, defined as honesty, trust, accountability, fairness and wholeness of a person, is the hallmark of good governance and a common thread that should run through all ombudsman and ombudsman-like institutions.
They agreed that it was important for ombudsman functionaries to put more resources in building public trust, continue to support one another and network with oversight agencies in achieving their respective mandates.
‘While acknowledging the support extended to them by their governments, ombudsman offices still face considerable challenges because of the ever growing expectations of citizens.
“The conference urges governments to be more responsive to the financial needs of the offices [of ombudsman] to better enable the ombudsman to carry out their functions,” the communiqué read.