Taking the services of the Public Protector to the grassroots
Over the seven years of her term of office, Public Protector Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane will devote much of her time ensuring that the services of her office filter down to communities living in the margins of society.
As part of this approach, she has vowed to engage far-flung communities in their own languages to enhance their understanding of her office’s mandate and how it can help them, too, enjoy the fruits of democracy.
In recognition of the reality that her office is not adequately funded, Adv. Mkhwebane is exploring innovative ways to leverage stakeholder relations with a view to increasing the office’s footprint from 19 offices to more service centres.
It is her vision to leave behind a well empowered public at the grassroots level that is well versed on their rights and freedoms and how to exact accountability on state functionaries by the time she leaves office in 2023, hence Vision 2023.
The 8 Pillars of Vision 2023
Access - Bringing services closer to the doorsteps of communities located at the grassroots, in the margins of society.
Vernacular - Communicating to communities in their own languages and making use of media platforms particularly radio stations- that use vernacular languages.
Footprint - Exploring the use of courts, municipal premises and traditional offices to supplement the 19 offices we already have across the land, with view to increasing our reach.
Agreements - Signing Memorunda of Understand with stakeholders such as the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) for mutually beneficial partnerships.
Safe haven - Being a stronghold for the poor and the marginalised.
Rights - Empowering the public to enforce their rights by peacefully holding their leaders to account so that the Public Protector may focus on addressing systemic challenges.
Complaints resolution - Encouraging organs of state to establish own effective complaints resolution units or sector-specific Ombudsman institutions such as the Health and Military Ombudsman.
Self-protection - Empowering people to become their own liberators, who see themselves as Public Protector in their own right.