Public Protector resorts to economic ways of observing Good Governance Week in the face of resource constraints

Not even the stumbling block of inadequate financial resources could deter the Public Protector South Africa from holding its annual National Good Governance Week campaign.

Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela, who kicked-off the campaign with an address to young people at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth on Thursday, said her office has had to find alternative and economic ways of observing the week.

Traditionally the campaign has been characterised by high-level conferences, exhibitions at shopping malls, visits to schools, and interactions with commuters at taxi and bus ranks as well as unannounced visits to various public service points.

However, the 2014 campaign, observed under the theme "Walk the Talk on Good Governance", will entail virtual conferences held on social media platforms and leveraging stakeholder relations by taking up invites to address meetings to drive the governance messages.

To this extent, Public Protector Madonsela has invited members of society interested in governance, including government leaders, Members of Parliament, political parties, academics, commentators, officials operating within the legal sphere within the state and young people, among others, to take part in the activities.

"We call on the people of South Africa from all walks of life to join the conversation and walk the talk on good governance," Public Protector Madonsela said.

The Twitter and Facebook conference with young people, particularly high school pupils, will take place on Sunday between 17H00 and 19H00 while another two-hour session with government leaders and lawmakers, among others, is scheduled for 11H00 on Monday, October 27, 2014.

The Week, which is annually timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Public Protector South Africa, seeks to promote good governance and integrity in all state affairs. It further aims to raise awareness about the existence and the role of integrity bodies such Public Protector, Special Investigating Unit, Auditor-General and Human Rights Commission, among others.

Meanwhile, Public Protector Madonsela called on young people at the university to take an interest in South Africa's constitution and empower themselves to hold those exercising public power accountable by studying the constitution.

She explained that in the constitution, they would find the promise of an improved quality of life and a freed potential for all people, which was also expressed through basic human rights. They would also find that the constitution also provides that the state should be transparent.

Public Protector Madonsela added that the constitution would reveal information on the character the post-apartheid state, including that such a state should put the people first and be devoid of self-interest, and that constitutional obligations should be prioritised ahead of the "nice-to-haves".

"Trust me," she said, "if in the last 20 years of democracy we operated in terms of section 237, which calls for the prioritization of constitutional obligations, there would be no "no-school-days" when it rains, with rivers cutting some communities off from getting to class."

For more information, please contact:
Oupa Segalwe
Acting Spokesperson
Public Protector South Africa
012 366 7035
072 264 3273
Twitter: @PublicProtector
Facebook: Public Protector South Africa

Published Date: 
Thursday, October 23, 2014