Parliamentary committee affirms the constitutional status of the Public Protector
Public Protector Adv Madonsela has welcomed the decision of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development to engage with her following the recent visit of two counter intelligence officials of the South African Police Service to her Pretoria office.
Briefing the committee on the officials’ visit to her office last Wednesday, the Public Protector reiterated the point that the incident in question was an unannounced and inappropriate visit that did not involve any force, search and seizure.
The Committee threw its weight behind the Public Protector, affirming the responsibility of the Public Protector to investigate improper conduct in state affairs, report on that conduct and to take appropriate remedial action.
The Committee further highlighted that in terms of Section 181(3) of the Constitution, other organs of state, through legislative and other measures must assist and protect the Public Protector and other state institutions supporting constitutional democracy to ensure the independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness of these institutions.
The Public Protector was appreciative of the committee’s support and reassurance, indicating that it would go a long way to allay staff’s fears that her office was under attack and allow them to get on with their duties without any concerns.
“I am also grateful that the National Commissioner of Police called to apologise and condemn the action. He assured us that the visit had not been sanctioned by police management and immediately took action to investigate the matter,” she said.
The Public Protector added that the visit could have been handled better by making prior arrangements and indicating the reason for the action beforehand.
Committee members expressed their concern at the inappropriate visit, agreeing that the constitutional injunction on organs of state to assist and support the Public Protector needs to be upheld at all times.
The Public Protector is encouraged by the support shown by all sectors of society and trust that the matter will be dealt with in accordance with the constitution and the law.
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