Public Protector targets municipalities for systemic interventions

Public Protector, Adv Thuli Madonsela, says her office will partner with state organs such as the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) in an effort to address the blockages that hinder service delivery in municipalities.

Speaking at a stakeholder consultative meeting in Kimberley, Northern Cape, Adv Madonsela told guests that her office had identified municipalities as the biggest area of intervention.

“We want to focus on systemic interventions because poor service delivery on its own is just a symptom of a system failure. We want to attend to the bottlenecks in the systems that result in poor delivery of services,” she said.

Advocate Madonsela added that most of the complaints received by her office in the Northern Cape related to basic services provided at municipal level such as low cost housing and water. This is apart from the usual complaints relating to social grants and identity documents, among others.

While most state organs in the province cooperated well with investigators, the Public Protector said her office will arrange meetings with heads of institutions that were still problematic with the aim of ironing out challenges and enter into memorandums of understanding to enhance cooperation.

In the event of non cooperation, which remains one of the biggest challenges for the Public Protector, Advocate Madonsela said she would go the subpoena route in a bid to expedite investigations and thus improving on the turnaround time.

“A subpoena is not a declaration of aggression but simply a constitutional mechanism given to us to deal with non-responding organs of state,” she said, adding that the Public Protector, like courts, has the power to subpoena people to assist in the investigative processes.

The meeting brought, under one roof, delegates from government, political parties, chapter nine institutions and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) among others. Delegates raised questions on a number of issues including the accessibility of the Public Protector services to rural communities, turnaround time on investigations and the Public Protector’s jurisdiction among others.

Tomorrow, Tuesday 23 February 2010, Advocate Madonsela will interact with communities in Galeshewe, where she will also take complaints regarding government services and conduct for investigation.

Published Date: 
Monday, February 22, 2010