Public Protector to partner with legal professional bodies

Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela has welcomed an offer by the Law Society of Northern Provinces (LSNP) to partner with her office in broadening access to justice to all communities, with emphasis on those in rural areas.
Adv Madonsela is also exploring the possibility of making use of traditional authorities’ offices and other institutions to be more accessible to communities in remote areas.

This comes after several stakeholders including traditional leaders, police and the LSNP offered the use of their premises for the Public Protector to reach as many people as possible.

They raised inadequate accessibility of the Public Protector services to communities as one of the main hindrances to justice for ordinary people.

Welcoming the offer in Mafikeng, North West during a stakeholder consultative meeting, Adv Madonsela said while the Public Protector was constitutionally required to be accessible to all persons, limited resources made it difficult for her office to reach out to all.

She cited the fact that her office in North West, including its regional offices in Vryburg, Rustenburg and Kuruman, received in the region of 1 700 complaints per annum, suggesting that not many people know about or have access to the Public Protector services.

“Nationally, we receive about 20 000 complaints per annum. It cannot be that in a nation of 48 million people, we only receive this number of complaints. More needs to be done to make the Public Protector accessible and visible to communities,” Adv Madonsela said.
She added that over and above the nine provincial offices and eight regional offices in Gauteng, North West, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Western Cape, the Public Protector uses mobile offices in Eastern Cape and Limpopo to reach communities in far-flung areas.
“We also use outreach clinics where communities are educated about our role. During such activities our investigators are always at hand to take complaints from the public,” Adv Madonsela said.

She said her office is planning to introduce an annual campaign to be called the Public Protector Good Governance Week to further bolster the visibility of the institution and access to its services.

Published Date: 
Thursday, March 4, 2010