Public Protector stresses importance of implementing remedial action
The assumption that only a court of law has the power to order organs of state to correct their administrative wrongs is flawed in the extreme, Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela said on Thursday.
The Public Protector was explaining the challenges her office often encountered regarding the implementation of remedial action put to some organs of state following her office’s investigations.
Addressing key stakeholders at the North West Provincial Legislature in Mahikeng, she said some of the defaulting organs of state often disregarded her reports, arguing that her office was not a court of law.
“Many people are stopped by traffic officers and get fined on the spot for disobeying traffic rules. Do they ever protest that the officer on duty is not a court of law and therefore cannot take action against them?” the Public Protector asked.
Her view was supported by the Speaker of the Provincial Legislature, Nono Maloyi and some members of the Provincial Executive, Heads of Departments and civil society, who added that disregarding remedial action amounted to a refusal to be accountable and that such action was unconstitutional.
The Public Protector emphasised that both government and institutions such as her office existed to ensure that the people of South Africa enjoyed the better life promised by the country’s constitution.
During proceedings, delegates commended the Public Protector on the work her office continued to do, encouraging her to do more to bring the services of her office closer to rural communities and raise awareness about its existence.
The Public Protector is in the province until Friday as part of the nationwide stakeholder consultative forums launched early last month under the theme “The Public Protector Dialogues with the Nation.”
The forums are aimed at soliciting feedback regarding the work of the Public Protector and foster a common understanding of the institution’s mandate and role. They focus 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 service failure and ensuring accountability in the exercise of state power and control over public resources.
On Friday, the Public Protector will interface with ordinary members of the public at Embassy Hall in Mahikeng during an outreach clinic, where she will be accompanied by a team of investigators who will register service delivery complaints on site.
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