Public Protector asks government to act
more than talk
Monday, 29 August 2011
It will take more than just mere commitments about taking
her office seriously for the government to make a real
difference in fighting corruption and improving service
delivery, Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela said on
Addressing stakeholders including provincial government
leaders, local government authorities and civil society
during a consultative meeting in Cape Town, the Public
Protector noted that government had on many occasions
acknowledged its responsibility to take institutions
supporting democracy seriously.
“However, mere pronouncements are an inadequate indicator
of taking the Public Protector and other institutions
supporting democracy seriously. What makes a real difference
is what organs of state do after we have pronounced in
favour of complainants,” she said.
In cases of service failure, disputes could not be
considered resolved if the kind of conclusion involved does
not bring complainants as close as possible to where they
would have been had organs of state concerned acted right
the first time, the Public Protector said.
She explained that the level of cooperation received from
organs of state made it possible to swiftly put the people
that are wronged in the exercise of public power out of
Also speaking at the same event, Premier of Western Cape,
Hellen Zille, said the extent to which the country succeeds
in consolidating and building its democracy would depend on
the extent to which independent institutions of state
fulfill their mandate in ensuring a clean, open and
One of the issues that were raised during the meeting was
the Public Protector’s potential role in investigating and
taking remedial action in respect of ill-considered projects
that lock the state into long term expensive commitments of
up to 200 years. A project that was mentioned and referred
to as a “white elephant” is Cape Town’s Green Point stadium,
which was revamped for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Another issue that emerged during proceedings and which
has been a common thread within all of the Public
Protector’s engagements with stakeholders to date is the
issue of accessibility of the office to communities and
questions around the understanding of the mandate.
Responsiveness to children and other marginalized groups in
society including non-nationals was also highlighted.
The Public Protector undertook to explore leveraging
stakeholder relations and improve the community outreach
programme while taking cognizance of the limited resources
that her office is operating within.
She is in the province until Tuesday as part of the
nationwide stakeholder consultative forums launched early
last month under the theme “The Public Protector
Dialogues with the Nation.”
The forums are aimed at soliciting feedback regarding the
work of the Public Protector and foster a common
understanding of the institution’s mandate and role. They
focus on the importance of implementing the Public
Protector’s remedial action.
This is for purposes of ensuring administrative justice
by organs of state in respect of service failure and
ensuring accountability in the exercise of state power and
control over public resources.
On Tuesday, the Public Protector will interface with
ordinary members of the public at OR Tambo Hall in Tambo
village during an outreach clinic, where she will be
accompanied by a team of investigators who will register
service delivery complaints at the venue.
For more information, contact:
Senior Manager: Outreach, Education and Communications
Tel: (012) 366 7006
Cell: 079 507 0399