Public Protector decries “unconstitutional” conduct of state actors

 Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela on Thursday decried the conduct of state actors, who refuse to implement the remedial action contained in her reports, saying their actions were “unconstitutional.”
She said she did not think her directives that complainants wronged by the state should be brought as close as possible to where they would have been had the state acted right in the first instance were outside the vision that underpins her constitutional mandate.
Speaking at the New Age/SABC News Business Briefing in Midrand this morning, the Public Protector indicated that this mandate included that she must investigate, report and take appropriate remedial action.
“That is why we say to those in the state who say ‘you are not a court of law therefore we shouldn’t implement’, you are unconstitutional,” she said.
The Public Protector reiterated her long standing point that refusing to implement the remedies contained in her reports suggested to her office’s complainants that choosing her office over an expensive and time-consuming court process was a gate to nowhere. 
Responding to a view that her office appeared only to be “the bearer of bad news”, the Public Protector stated that her office actually brought good news to many ordinary people, who she referred to as “Gogo Dlamini”, in cases where she confirmed that they had indeed been wronged by the state and adviced the state to remedy the situation.
She further stated that in cases of corruption and other integrity violations, her office often brought bad news for those that have acted improperly. However, this was necessary for ensuring public accountability and that improper acts such as corrupt practices are not conducted with impunity.
The Public Protector said her work in ending corruption and clawing back resources that are improperly appropriated ensured that “Gogo Dlamini” did not have to wait for 18 years to get an RDP house and that the state does not have to release more funds to fix shoddy work that was paid for irregularly.
She said her office also brought good news to government departments and officials that work hard to make sure that their institutions operate smoothly and deliver of the constitutional promise of a better life for all South Africans. 
The Public Protector invited the state, business and civil society to work with her office and other oversight agencies to end maladministration in pursuit of good governance. 
The Public Protector’s address followed her public hearings and stakeholder dialogue in KwaZulu-Natal, focussing on RDP houses and the illegal conversion of panel vans into taxis. The coming week will see the Public Protector and her team visit the Free State and North West provinces. Details will follow in due course.
Published Date: 
Thursday, July 26, 2012