Walk-in services suspended indefinitely at all Public Protector offices across the country
Public Protector Adv. Busisiwe Mkhwebane wishes to inform the public that walk-in services at all of the institution’s 19 offices countrywide have been suspended indefinitely.
The suspension, which is part and parcel of and is in line with efforts announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday to contain the spread of the Coronavirus/Covid-19 epidemic, is effective immediately.
For the time being, members of the public wishing to lodge service or conduct failure complaints are encouraged to use alternative means such as email, post, fax and telephone. Emailed complaints can be sent to email@example.com while posted mail can be addressed to Private Bag X677, Pretoria, 0001. Otherwise complainants can use fax line 012 362 3473 or call our toll-free line 0800 11 20 40.
Those with customer complaints can email firstname.lastname@example.org while those who wish to track progress on their complaints can liaise directly with investigators via telephone or email.
“We have a duty to be accessible to all persons and communities in terms of section 182(4) of the Constitution. One of the ways through which we give effect to this constitutional imperative is availing our services to the public without the need for appointments,” Adv. Mkhwebane said on Monday.
“Unfortunately the threat posed by Covid-19 is such that we must take these stringent safety measures to protect both our staff and the public we serve from potentially contracting this contagious virus.”
In addition to this decision, Adv. Mkhwebane has cancelled public events she was scheduled to address at the University of Mpumalanga in Mbombela and an outreach clinic in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga on Thursday, March 19, 2020. The events were to have served as the culmination of her financial year-long Stakeholder Roadshow and doubled as commemorations of Human Rights Month.
The outreach clinic is used to teach remote communities about the mandate and role of the Public Protector while also serving as a mobile office service to make up for the inadequate institutional footprint.
Other elements of the roadshow will, however, proceed as planned. Accordingly, Adv. Mkhwebane and her Deputy, Adv. Kholeka Gcaleka, will meet with the Provincial Cabinet and Speaker of the Provincial Legislature Hon. Busisiwe Shiba in Mbombela on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. These meetings will be closed to the media.
They will take the Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane and her team through the Executive Ethics Code, the Executive Members Act (EMEA) and the constitutional provisions dealing with the ethical conduct of the Executive.
In terms of EMEA, which gives effect to sections 96 and 136 of the Constitution, and in terms of which the Code 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.
The roadshow, whose theme focused on the ethical conduct of the Executive and was targeting new members of the Executive following the 2019 national and provincial elections, kicked-off in Limpopo in June 2019 and has been to all other provinces except for Mpumalanga.