Public Protector talks Executive Ethics to Limpopo provincial executive
Public Protector Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane – who is currently in Egypt in her capacity as President of the African Ombudsman and Mediators Association (AOMA), Cairo, participating in a regional conference and workshop on the role of the Egyptian Council for Human Rights in Legal Assistance and Complaints Handling – returns to Limpopo as part of her annual Stakeholder Roadshow on Wednesday.
She kicked-off the roadshow last week in that province with a meeting with the Speaker of the Provincial Legislature in Polokwane as well as an outreach engagement with the community of Mankweng outside the provincial capital.
This year’s roadshow targets newly appointed members of the executive arm of government in provinces following the recent general elections and focuses on the Public Protector’s powers to enforce executive ethics.
In terms of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act 82 of 1998 (EMEA), which gives effect to section 96 of the Constitution and in terms of which the Executive Code of Ethics has been published, the Public Protector must investigate any alleged breaches of the Code and report to the President or Premiers, who are the custodians of executive ethics in the national and provincial cabinets, respectively.
The Public Protector is the only institution in the country that has powers to investigate alleged violations of the Executive Code of Ethics. Only members of the executive and legislative arms of government can complain to the Public Protector about alleged breaches of the Code of Ethics.
Over the years, the Public Protector has investigated numerous complaints of alleged breaches of the Code of Ethics by members of the executive at both the national and provincial levels of government.
These included alleged incidences of misleading the legislature, acting in a manner that was inconsistent with their offices, using the positions entrusted to them to enrich themselves or improperly benefit another person and exposing themselves to situations involving the risk of a conflict between their official responsibilities and their private interests – all of which are outlawed by the Code of Ethics, EMEA and section 96 of the Constitution.
Themed Governance and Ethics – What Is Expected of Members of the Executive, the roadshow will comprise a series of sessions aimed at enlightening the incoming members of the executive in the different provinces about what is expected of them in regards to section 96 of the Constitution, EMEA and the Code of Ethics.
At national level, a similar presentation and engagement will take place under the auspices of the Office on Institutions Supporting Democracy in Parliament.
“The fact that new executives have just taken to office following the recent democratic elections presents an opportune moment for us to help them understand the dos and don’ts in relation to ethical conduct,” said Adv. Mkhwebane, ahead of the roadshow.
From Limpopo, the roadshow will move to the Eastern Cape in July, followed by Gauteng in August and Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal in September. From there, it will go to the Western Cape in October, Free State in November, North West in December and Mpumalanga in March 2020. Details in this regard will be communicated in due course.
The roadshow will also be used to follow up on progress with regard to the establishment of these internal complaints resolution units and map a way forward. This was the focus of the previous tour of the provinces in support of Pillar 7 of the Public Protector Vision 2023, which advocates for the establishment of effective complaints resolution mechanisms.
The Public Protector’s address of the Limpopo Executive, which is not open to the media, is scheduled as follows:
Event: Engagement with the Provincial Executive (during the Provincial Government’s own Induction Workshop for the Executive Council)
Date: Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Time: 09: 30
Venue: Zebula Golf Estate, Bela-Bela