Public Protector says there were no errors on the Midvaal investigation

Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela has clarified that no errors were committed in her investigation of irregularities at Midvaal Local Municipality in Gauteng. This follows a news article in one Sunday newspaper, alleging that she “admitted to errors” in her investigation of irregularities at the municipality.

The Public Protector would like to put it on record that she only admitted to the fact that she had made undertakings on the release of the report, which were not met because the report didn’t come through as agreed from the investigation team.

With regard to a letter that was not sent to the Law Society of Northern Provinces, the Public Protector would like to state that, as a matter of principle, letters and copies of reports are sent to individuals and institutions that need to execute the remedial action stemming from the findings. Such letters are sent on the same day investigation reports are released to the public.

These letters are dispatched by the investigation team that would have assisted the Public Protector with a particular investigation. In the case of Midvaal, it appears as though the letters and the report were not sent the Law Society. All other individuals and institutions, who had to get the documents, received them.

The Public Protector has been looking at this issue internally to establish what might have gone wrong. It has since been established that an oversight led to the documents not being forwarded to the Law Society. The Law Society will be favoured with all the documents expeditiously.

It is important to note that the Public Protector was not aware of this oversight hence she made reference to this particular case when she addressed Law Society’s AGM on Saturday, October 06, 2012. The Public Protector has also made mention of the case during a recent interview with the Law Society’s magazine, De Rebus.

With regard to recurring yet unsubstantiated allegations that the Public Protector withheld the report in question until after the 2011 Local Government Elections, kindly see the attached flow chart, which details a sequence of events from the time the complaint was received until the report was issued. As can be shown from the chart and supplementary documents within the Public Protector’s office, the investigation process remained with the Deputy Public Protector and team until after the election, with the Public Protector being given the provisional report after 18 May 2011.

The Public Protector welcomes all measures that seek to ensure that she is accountable and answerable for her work and conduct. However, she is concerned there are many allegedly sponsored anonymous letters containing wild, malicious and untrue allegations.

She is also concerned that the time she spends responding to enquiries on these matters diverts her attention from her mandate and focusing on pressing issues relating thereto. She has called on anyone with more allegations to make a sworn statement under oath and lodge it with the Auditor General under the Protected Disclosure Act of 2000 or forward same to Parliament, which is looking into allegations against her and her office. In this regard, the Public Protector will no longer entertain such enquiries.

Issued by the Public Protector South Africa. For more information, contact:
Oupa Segalwe
Manager: Outreach, Education and Communication Public Protector South Africa
012 366 7035
072 264 3273

Published Date: 
Monday, October 22, 2012