Public Protector honours longest serving investigator
Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela on Friday led her office in bidding farewell to one of its longest serving investigative staff members Dr Marthinus Schutte during a low key function in Pretoria.
Also in attendance to pay homage to Dr Schutte, who is emigrating to join his family in Auckland, New Zealand, was the first Public Protector of a democratic South Africa Judge Selby Baqwa.
Judge Justice van der Walt, former Ombudsman of the Republic of South Africa, one of the forerunner-institutions of the Public Protector, was also present at the event.
Dr Schutte, who at the time of his retirement was the Executive Manager for the Early Resolution branch, has been with the Public Protector since its inception in 1995. He previously worked under Judge Van Der Walt at the Ombudsman’s office.
A seasoned lawyer with a career spanning nearly three decades, Schutte is credited for, among other things, his contribution to the development of the Public Protector Rules, which are expected to come into force soon.
He has also been lauded for his stewardship of the Early Resolution branch, which is responsible for providing prompt remedial action for complaints who require “emergency” relief.
Speaking during the function, the Public Protector Adv Madonsela said Dr Schutte’s conduct over the years epitomised devotion, dedication and commitment to serve.
“It is indeed a sad moment for us in that we are losing out on the wealth of experience that we need so much to develop younger staff members who continue to swell our ranks,” she said.
“It was under your stewardship that some of the many complainants who turned to us when the state sent them from pillar to post got relief within a week, a month and for some it was even within hours.”
Judge Baqwa described Dr Schutte an institutional memory of the Public Protector as an institution. He said it was Dr Schutte’s wealth of knowledge and experience that would be missed the most. Judge Van Der Walt said Dr Schutte’s departure was huge loss to the Public Protector and to South Africa at large.
Schutte said he was happy to have served under all three Public Protectors of the democratic dispensation as well as under the Ombudsman. He thanked all four of them for their leadership and guidance.
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