Public Protector urged to increase visibility

Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela has been urged to have more community outreach programmes in Limpopo to make up for the limited accessibility in the province.

At an outreach clinic in Tzaneen on Tuesday, locals complained, amongst other things, about the institution’s lack of visibility in the province’s Mopani District.

The Public Protector has only one office in Limpopo located in the provincial capital, Polokwane.

With a staff complement of 16, half of whom are investigators, the solitary office has to render services to the province’s five million citizens.

Explaining her office’s challenges, the Public Protector told residents that the institution was “hopelessly underfunded.”
The office’s annual budget of R140m, she said, was equivalent to what a business unit in a national government department would be allocated in a financial year.

The Public Protector added that much of her budget went towards rental costs of the 20 walk-in offices countrywide and salaries of the institution’s 270 staffers.

“Last year we received nearly a thousand complaints in this province. This indicates that the people here do not use this office optimally.

“This underutilisation can be attributed to the lack of regional offices,” she said, vowing to make efforts to expand community outreach programmes.

Apart from accessibility issues, community members also raised concerns about problems in processing of identity documents, social welfare grants and housing applications.

There were also complaints about the provision of basic services such as water and lights by local municipalities as well as few grievances on tendering and land reform.

The Public Protector is in the province until Thursday as part of the nationwide roadshow called “The Public Protector Dialogues with the Nation.”

The roadshow is aimed at soliciting feedback relating to the Public Protector’s work and to foster a common understanding of the institution’s mandate and role. It focuses on the importance of implementing the Public Protector’s remedial action.

This is for purposes of ensuring administrative justice by organs of state in respect of service failure and ensuring accountability in the exercise of state power and control over public resources.

On Wednesday, the Public Protector will dialogue with interest groups including leaders of provincial and local government, traditional authorities and civil society groups at the Royal Hotel in Polokwane.

She will culminate her visit to the province will a commemoration of Women’s Month at Nirhana Hall in Polokwane on Thursday, where she will highlight the role of her office in respect of the plight of women.

For more information, contact:

Kgalalelo Masibi
Senior Manager: Outreach, Education and Communications
Tel: (012) 366 7006
Cell: 079 507 0399

Published Date: 
Tuesday, August 16, 2011