State alone cannot ensure delivery of constitutional ideals for all: Deputy Public Protector Malunga
It should not be left only to the state to ensure that South Africa has a living Constitution capable of accommodating the country’s collective dreams and aspirations, Deputy Public Protector Adv. Kevin Malunga said at the weekend.
Addressing the South African Medical and Education (SAME) Foundation Night of the Stars Donor Awards in Cape Town, Adv. Malunga said government alone cannot deal with an increasing demand of provision of basic services without the support of the country’s business community.
Adv. Malunga said it was upon every South African including those in business to ensure that the country’s constitutional promise of an improved quality of life and a freed potential for all was realized.
The Deputy Public Protector said it was encouraging that the country was starting to fully embrace the idea that public-private partnerships (PPPs) were another way of dealing with the evident socio-economic, fiscal and social challenges that continue to affect many communities.
Adv. Malunga acknowledged that a lot of companies were starting to invest in such partnerships in various forms, and communities were enjoying the fruits of such initiatives.
He commended the business community for its role in ensuring that the communities in which they were doing business were developed and insisted that they invest in the development of such communities.
Adv. Malunga said while it was a good thing to develop or build for communities, it was important to involve local communities in such projects warning that failure to do so often results in such projects failing due to lack of community participation or there being subsequent resistance.
The Deputy Public Protector said that partnerships between government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and business in the health sector in particular has led to the reduction of deaths that were exacerbated by a lack of basic services such as water and sanitation, good health services for children and comprehensive HIV &AIDS interventions.
Adv. Malunga also mentioned that his office had seen the benefits of such interventions at facilities such as Leratong Hospital in Krugersdorp where the children’s ward has been funded by the private sector.
He said, the success in this regard, was a testimony that if all forces came together, a lot of milestones aimed at uplifting and improving the public’s quality of life would be achieved.
Dispelling a notion that public-private engagements often carried reduced accountability and undermined public control, Adv. Malunga said that since many community projects involved different stakeholders with varying interests, it provided an opportunity for a more accountable process and ensured that all worked properly and reinforced one another.
Adv. Malunga added such projects were not only owned by communities in which they were carried out, but government, taxpayers, shareholders, electorates were also principals in the project.
He mentioned recent success stories such as Singapore and Rwanda to emphasise that if citizens want a country that works they must play their part and make it work.
The Deputy Public Protector used the opportunity to appeal to business community to play its part in ensuring a clean government that was free from any corrupt activities. He said projects that involved communities and donations were often targeted by those with malicious intentions and this often undermined the entire projects and the intentions of the funders of the project.
He said corruption and its activities were at odds with the ideals of the Constitution and everyone who was found to be involved in corrupt activities especially in projects aimed at improving lives of the people should be reported to the relevant authorities that included his office, to deal with it.
Adv. Malunga said it was crucial for all exercising public power, using public resources in collaborations such as public-private partnerships to be accountable to the people and the Public Protector would ensure that this happens.
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