Public Protector launches annual National Stakeholder Consultative Dialogue

Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela will on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 launch her office's annual National Stakeholder Consultative Dialogue in the Western Cape.

Now in its fourth year, the dialogue will be launched under the theme: “Strengthening Government’s Ability to Deliver on Ending Poverty, and other Millennium Development Goals”.

As with the last one, this year's dialogue combines the normal stakeholder consultative sessions with public hearings on a systemic investigation into healthcare matters.

The systemic investigation will cover the following issues:

  1. Infant mortality;

  2. Management of healthcare facilities;

  3. Working conditions of staff, including professionals;

  4. Quality of care;

  5. Resources;

  6. Procurement; and

  7. General.

The focus of this year’s dialogue is informed by the trend of complaints the Public Protector has been receiving on regular basis, and newspaper reports concerning the current state of affairs in health facilities such as hospitals and clinics. There have also been sporadic complaints from health caregivers such as doctors.

The Public Protector recognises the excellent work done by the Department of Health, with regard to reforming the health system in the country. The public hearings on healthcare seek to reinforce that work by focusing on trends in maladministration, which have already resulted in three systemic investigations which are currently being conducted by the Public Protector.

The first of the current systemic investigations focuses on concerns raised by Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, primarily relating to irregularities and inefficiencies in the procurement of hospital medicines and equipment leading to interruptions of essential services. The other two focus on neo-natal, infant and child mortality and on complaints received during the 2012 Public Protector Stakeholder Consultations, wherein health services emerged as one of the top three areas of concern in all nine provinces.

The information and evidence gathered during the process will enrich and facilitate the conclusion of these investigations.

This year’s dialogue, which will see the Public Protector spending at least three days in each province, will run from early July to mid-September.

During her stay in each province, the Public Protector will engage with a varied network of stakeholders, including members of provincial legislatures, government, civil society, political parties, organised women groupings and the general public.

The Public Protector, accompanied by a team of investigators, will also conduct site-visits to some of the identified healthcare facilities to interact first-hand with healthcare professionals and patients.

Issues for discussions will, in the main, centre on healthcare matters that are the subject of the Public Protector's systemic investigations and public hearings.

However, the sessions will also serve as a platform to discuss other issues involving the work of the Public Protector and any other service or conduct failure complaints against organs of state.

"We call on all stakeholders to join us in this process and participate fully in the dialogue. We particularly urge those who have been affected by the health matters we are focusing on to be at the forefront," said the Public Protector.

Meanwhile the launch will take the form of a panel discussion, where chief executives from public hospitals, academics and representatives of the health sector NGOs will participate in deliberations. Some Members of Parliament are also expected to attend and enrich the dialogue.

The launch will take place as follows:

Date: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Time: 10:00
Venue: 15 On Orange Hotel, Cape Town

Since its inception in 2010, the dialogue has served as one of the premier Public Protector accessibility vehicles that not only taught communities about the importance of the office but also brought its services to many far-flung groups.

The maiden campaign focussed on the then proposed vision for the office and strategic direction while the second one aimed to solicit feedback from the people of South Africa regarding the work of the office. Last year the dialogue put a spotlight on problems relating to the provision of social housing and the illegal conversion of panel vans into taxis.

Information on provincial visits will follow in due course.

The media is invited to attend and cover the event(s). Those who wish to do so can confirm with Oupa Segalwe on (012) 366 7035 / 0722643273.

For more information, contact:

Kgalalelo Masibi
Public Protector Spokesperson
Public Protector South Africa
079 507 0399
012 366 7006

Published Date: 
Thursday, June 20, 2013