Getting the facts right

The Public Protector, Adv Thuli Madonsela is shocked and disappointed by a false statement made in The Sunday Independent of 25 July 2010, in which Mr Ronnie Mamoepa alleges that “...that the Department of Home Affairs has unsuccessfully requested the Public Protector to meet with the Minister of Home Affairs”.

The truth is, since her appointment, the Public Protector has formally requested, in writing, a meeting with the Minister concerned on three distinct occasions without success.

The Public Protector had a lengthy telephonic discussion with Minister Zuma in Mid April on duplicate Identity Documents and another lengthy discussion in Mid July on the Vangillgonsberg immigration matter.

This allegation regarding the Public Protector’s unavailability is illogical considering the fact that the Public Protector has met and continues to meet with other Ministers and members of the public everyday. It is therefore strange that the Minister of Home Affairs is the only one the Public Protector is allegedly too busy to meet with. Home Affairs is challenged to provide any evidence to support its wild allegations.

In fact it has been the Minister question who has not been available to meet. The last response from Home Affairs, received as late as Thursday 22 May 2010 from Ms Nozipho Mtshali, Minister Dlamini Zuma’s PA, indicates that the Minister is busy with meetings rescheduled due to her World Cup commitments, her diary is full and suggests that the Public Protector meets with the DDG Immigration. Although the matters for discussion with Home Affairs obviously transcend immigration matters, an official has been dispatched to interact with the DDG Immigration as advised.

The Public Protector has repeatedly indicated that she needs a meeting not because she does not understand the Minister’s challenges but rather to reconcile approaches between hers and that of Home Affairs. The differences in the approaches is that the Public Protector is concerned about the human rights of each individual and seeks a solution that balances the State’s responsibility to uphold such human rights and negotiating the challenges that the Department of Home Affairs faces. Home Affairs on the other hand, focuses on numbers with no timelines for addressing the plight of each individual whose life is currently at a stand still.

The Public Protector indicated in her letters to the Minister that their discussion would explore avenues for balancing these competing demands. She also stated that she cannot submit a response to a complainant that says they are one in a large number and does not know when their matters will be resolved.

It is cold comfort to a person who is waiting for an ID for years to be told that you are one of the 38 000 and that they will be dealt with at an undetermined future. The Public Protector has also communicated the need for a definite time frame in her telephonic conversation with the Minister.

Based on the above facts, the Public Protector would like to challenge Mr Mamoepa to give up his ID until each one of the outstanding duplicate ID matters is resolved.

Issued by:

Kgalalelo Masibi
Senior Manager: Communications

On behalf of
The Public Protector of South Africa
Private Bag X 677

Tel: (012) 366 7069
Fax: 0866 261 143

Published Date: 
Monday, July 26, 2010