Complaint Process - Overview

How does one complain to the Public Protector?

Should your complaint be about prejudice, you should try to solve the problem yourself before complaining to the Public Protector, for example by:

  • speaking to the official(s) involved or, if that does not help,
  • writing to the person in charge of the official(s), for example the Head of the Department, or the Chief Executive Director, or the Town Clerk.

You may also consider approaching your member of the National or Provincial Parliament. Only if you are then still unable to solve the problem, should you write to the Public Protector. The following information should be contained in the letter:

  • the nature of the complaint
  • background and history of the complaint
  • the reasons why you feel the complaint should be investigated by the Public Protector
  • the steps you have taken to solve the problem yourself (if applicable). You should mention names of the officials you have been dealing with, on what dates, and what was said. Copies of any correspondence between you and the officials should be attached to your letter.
  • a telephone number where you can be reached, if you have one.

In some instances the Public Protector may require a statement under oath before investigating.

If you are unsure whether your problem is something the Public Protector will investigate, or if you cannot write, you can phone the Public Protector's office. There are trained professional staff members who will listen to a complaint, big or small, and conduct investigations. In some cases the staff can help people to find quick solutions to their problems. The staff can also tell you where to complain if the Public Protector cannot help you.

You could also visit the Office for an interview or consultation, if you prefer. It is better to write and ask for an interview in the letter. A complaint must be reported to the Public Protector within two years from the occurrence of the incident concerned.

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