Public Protector opens new office in Mthatha
Efforts to hold Eastern Cape organs of state accountable regarding their services and conduct received a major boost today when a Public Protector Regional Office opened its doors to communities in Mthatha.
Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela, Deputy Public Protector Mamiki Shai and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Nomaindia Mfeketho, officially opened the office in Fortgale.
The new office, which brings the total number of Public Protector offices across the country to 20, will service communities within the OR Tambo District and neighbouring areas.
All along, communities in the Eastern Cape have been relying on the provincial office based in Bhisho and occasional outreach clinics to lodge service delivery and maladministration complaints with the Public Protector.
Speaking during the event, the Public Protector called on communities to make full use of the office, explaining that this will in turn assist her office ensure good governance in all state affairs.
Apart from striving to be accessible and trusted by all persons and communities, the Public Protector committed that her office would work hard towards quick resolution of cases and promotes good governance.
She said her office had received hundreds of complaints from communities in Mthatha in the previous financial year. She added that the complaints, which were lodged during outreach clinics, related mainly to social grants, identity documents, government pensions and general service delivery matters at municipal level.
The Public Protector cited, as an example, the case of Ms Kanyiswa Mcimeli of Mthatha, who complained a few months earlier that the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) had failed to help her when she applied for a child support grant.
Officials at SASSA had told her that her name was already in the system and that the system showed that she was receiving grants for two children when, in fact, somebody else in the area was receiving the benefits.
Upon the Public Protector’s investigation, the identity of the other person receiving the grants was uncovered and the suspect confessed to have bought ID books for R300, secured clinic cards for R30 and paid a fee to a SASSA official to apply for the grants.
Ms Mcimeli has since received all monies due to her, dating back to the day she first applied and the other illegal application was cancelled. A criminal case has since been opened at Libode Police Station and the Department of Home Affairs has since suspended an official in relation with the case.
Ms Mfeketho pledged her support for the Public Protector, urging people to report any conduct in state affairs that amounted to maladministration. She said this was important for purposes of strengthening and supporting of South Africa’s Constitution.
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