Anyone can lodge a complaint with the Public Protector, who will then investigate it. Think of the Public Protector as a referee who can look at all sides of a problem. If the Public Protector finds that the complaint is justified, he/she will do whatever possible to find a solution to the problem, which includes recommending changes to the system.
The Public Protector can also report the matter to Parliament, which will debate the matter and ensure that recommendations are followed.
Investigations are mostly done informally, but the Public Protector can serve summons on people to give evidence under oath or affirmation when this becomes necessary.
The following information should be contained in your complaint
- The nature of your complaint;
- Background and history of the complaint;
- The reasons you feel the complaint should be investigated by the Public Protector;
- The steps you have taken to solve the problem yourself. You should mention names, dates, and what was said. Copies of any correspondence between you and the officials should be attached to your letter; and
- Your postal address and a telephone number where you can be reached.
You may write, or request someone to write on your behalf. You can also phone the Public Protector’s office where trained professional staff members will listen to your complaint.
You can also visit any of our offices located in all nine province for an interview or consultation, if you prefer.
A complaint must be reported to the Public Protector within two years from the date of occurrence of the incident.
Complaints can also be lodged at visiting points and workshops conducted by the office. Visiting points are areas that have been identified for the purpose of conducting interviews with complainants, and they are found in all provinces. Visiting points are serviced at least once a month.