Public Protector repeats calls for funding proportional to workload
Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela on Wednesday presented her office's 2013/14 annual report to Parliament, repeating calls for a budget that was commensurate with the institution's workload.
She told the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services that the office handled 39 817 cases in the year in question, finalising 26 642 in the process.
About 9 594 of the cases were carried over to the current financial year, 3 072 were referred to other institutions while 3040 fell out of the office's jurisdiction.
Repeating the calls she has consistently made over the years, Public Protector Madonsela implored Parliament to seriously revisit the funding of her office.
She specifically asked the committee to help her office get funding for the organogram Parliament approved in 2009- prior to her appointment Public Protector.
The funding of the organogram, which provided for 432 posts, has since been overtaken by events, with the National Treasury approving another organizational structure, with the help of the Department of Public Service and Administration, for more than 500 posts. Currently the office has a total staff complement of 314.
Public Protector Madonsela told committee members that although there had been minor increases in the budget allocation on an annual basis, there was no increase "in real terms".
"The quantitative and qualitative increase in workload far exceeded capital," the Public Protector said, adding that failure to secure adequate funding will hamper operations severely.
She further requested Parliament's assistance in the implementation remedial action, explaining that some organs of state refused to comply with remedies outlined in her investigation reports.
In the same vein, Public Protector Madonsela thanked the organs of state that implemented her remedies, saying this ensured public trust in government and the effectiveness of her office.
"Parliament must take a view that is in line with the understanding that, for 'Gogo Dlamini’s' out there that seek recourse, there should be effective remedies," Public Protector Madonsela said.
She said public perceptions that were in line with this understanding would contribute to strengthening democracy and ensuring peace.
Responding to questions from committee members about outsourced investigations, Public Protector Madonsela explained that the procurement of external investigators was done in 2012 but paid for in the year under review.
She dispelled insinuations that there was no "internal democracy" in her office, explaining that decision-making was decentralized and democratic despite the institution being a one person commission.
Public Protector Madonsela further asked Parliament to the role of her office in the activities of the African Ombudsman and Mediators Association, to which she is Executive Secretary, and the African Ombudsman Research Centre, which is funded by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation through the African Renaissance Fund.
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