Public Protector

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Office of the Public Protector (OPP)
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Leadership of the Public protector office</ref>
National Institution overview
Formed1 October 1995; 23 years ago (1995-10-01)[1]
Preceding National Institution
  • The Office of the Ombudsman[2]
TypeChapter nine institution
JurisdictionGovernment
Headquarters175 Lunnon Street, Hillcrest Office Park, 0083, Pretoria, South Africa
Annual budgetR153.7 million ZAR (current) in 2014–15[3]
National Institution executives
Parent National InstitutionNone (independent)
Key documents
  • Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 108 of 1996[4]
  • Public Protector Act 23 of 1994[5]
  • Executive Members Ethics Act 82 of 1998[6]
  • Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 (PAIA)[7]
  • Electoral Commission Act 51 of 1996[8]
  • Special Investigation Units and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996[9]
Websitewww.pprotect.org

South Africa's Public Protector is one of six independent state institutions set up by the country's Constitution to support and defend democracy.

According to Section 181[10] of the Constitution:

  • These institutions are independent, and subject only to the Constitution and the law. According to the Constitution, they must be impartial and must exercise their powers and perform their functions without fear, favour or prejudice.
  • Other organs of state, through legislative and other measures, must assist and protect these institutions to ensure the independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness of these institutions.
  • No person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of these institutions.
  • These institutions are accountable to the National Assembly, and must report on their activities and the performance of their functions to the Assembly at least once a year.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane[edit]

The Public Protector, since October 2016, is Busisiwe Mkhwebane. She succeeded former Law Reform Commissioner and advocate, Thuli Madonsela who took up the post in October 2009. Madonsela succeeded Lawrence Mushwana, who took office on 15 October 2002. Selby Baqwa, Mushwana's predecessor, was the first person to hold that office from its inception in 1995.

The office of the Public protector has been faced with harsh criticism by parliament specifically by the majority party[11] for requesting an increase of R200m in the budget allocation for additional resources. With the justice portfolio committee chairman Mathole Motshekga[12] being critical of the budget and strategic presentation presented by Adv. Thuli Madonsela.

During the budget speech of 2015 the office of the Public Protector was allocated a total budget for 2015/16 of R 246.1 million [13] an increase of R 60 million, as opposed to the increase of R 200 million initially requested. With R 15 million going to the employment of additional investigators and the retention of the 70 investigator who were previously appointed on contract.

The office of the Public Protector is required to appear before the National Assembly at least once every year. During the Adv. Thuli Madonsela's budget and strategic presentation, the advocate was requested to present progress reports before parliament on a quarterly basis.[14]

Organisational structure[edit]

The Public Protector has an executive office which administers three major programmes:[15]

  • The Investigations and Outreach
  • The Executive Management
  • The Corporate Support Services

Mandate[edit]

The Public Protector receives its mandate from the Public Protector Act of 1994. The Public Protector is one of six State Institutions Supporting Democracy in South Africa. These institutions are independent of the government, subject only to South Africa's Constitution and the law, and report annually to Parliament.

The preamble of the Public Protector Act states, in part:

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa ... provides for the establishment of the office of Public Protector to investigate matters and to protect the public against matters such as maladministration in connection with the affairs of government, improper conduct by a person performing a public function, improper acts with respect to public money, improper or unlawful enrichment of a person performing a public function and an act or omission by a person performing a public function resulting in improper prejudice to another person.

The Act also gives the Public Protector the authority to order other state institutions take appropriate remedial action against any impropriety or prejudice made by government.

Any aggrieved complainant may lodge a complaint to the office provided that it falls within powers of the Public Protector in terms of the Public Protector act 23 of 1994.The Public Protector may investigate and take the appropriate remedial action on his/her findings.

History[edit]

The Public Protector is one of six State Institutions Supporting Democracy in South Africa. These institutions are independent of the government, subject only to South Africa's Constitution and the law, and report annually to Parliament.

Functions of the Public Protector[edit]

The powers of the Public Protector are regulated by the national legislation. Additional powers may also be granted by the national legislator. However, court decisions may not be investigated by the office.It receives and investigates complaints from the public government.

Appointment[edit]

The Public Protector is appointed by the president, in accordance with the provisions of section 193 of the Constitution. The candidate must be a South African Citizen who-

"

  • is a Judge of a High Court; or
  • is admitted as an advocate or an attorney and has, for a cumulative period of at least 10 years after having been so admitted, practised as an advocate or an attorney; or
  • is qualified to be admitted as an advocate or an attorney and has, for a cumulative period of at least 10 years after having so qualified, lectured in law at a university; or
  • has specialised knowledge of or experience, for a cumulative period of at least 10 years, in the administration of justice, public administration or public finance; or
  • has, for a cumulative period of at least 10 years, been a member of Parliament.

" – Sub-s. (1A)Act 23 of 1994

Tenure[edit]

Under chapter nine of the constitution, the Public Protector may only serve a non-renewable period of seven years in office.

Investigation Reports[edit]

Reports made by the Public Protector must be open to the public and be accessible to anyone. However certain reports maybe kept confidential under exceptional circumstances.[16] The Public Protector has to date investigated at least 40 000 cases.[17]

One of the most prominent cases is the investigation into allegations of impropriety and unethical conduct relating to the installation and implementation of security measures by the Department of Public Works at and in respect of the private residence of President Jacob Zuma at Nkandla in the KwaZulu-Natal province

Jurisdiction[edit]

Any matters in which the Public Protector has jurisdiction may be reported to the office of the Public Protector by any person.

In terms of the Public Protector act 23 of 1994[18] and other legislative acts, the Public Protector may investigate, on the basis of a complaint or on his or her own initiative, any level of government. This includes national, provincial and local government, any public office bearer, any parastatal and any statutory council.

Relationship with other chapter nine institutions[edit]

Similar to other bodies under the Chapter nine institution under the Constitution, the office of the Public Protector is independent of government and must be impartial and must exercise their powers and perform their function without any influence or prejudice.

Budget[edit]

Currently the office of The Public Protector manages an estimated 40,000 cases, with a staff of 314.[19] During the 2013/14 budget, the office was allocated R199.3m, with an increase of R18.3m for the 2014/15 financial year.

During the budget of 2015, the office was allocated an additional increase of R60m instead of the R200m initially requested at the justice portfolio committee. As a result, the office of the Public Protector was required to make drastic cutbacks.[20]

As a result of the funding difficulties, the spokesman of the office the Public Protector office cited that they would look at external agencies to help fund the office. The executive management of the office of the Public Protector has held meetings with development partners from German, Japan and Belgium.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ A brief history of the office Archived 29 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "History of The office of the Public Protector 1995".
  3. ^ Budget 2015 (PDF). Pretoria: Department of National Treasury. 2015. p. 48. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  4. ^ Constitution of the Republic of South Africa
  5. ^ Public Protector Act
  6. ^ Executive Members Ethics Act
  7. ^ Promotion of Access to Information Act
  8. ^ Electoral Commission Act
  9. ^ Special Investigation Units and Special Tribunals Act Archived 22 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 – Chapter 9: State institutions supporting constitutional democracy". South African Government Information. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  11. ^ http://citizen.co.za/378307/when-life-gives-you-lemons/ When life gives you lemons…
  12. ^ http://www.biznews.com/undictated/2015/04/29/public-protectors-budget-briefing-descends-into-insults-rebukes/ Public Protector’s budget briefing descends into insults & rebukes
  13. ^ http://www.biznews.com/undictated/2015/04/29/public-protectors-budget-briefing-descends-into-insults-rebukes/ Public Protector’s budget briefing descends into insults & rebukes
  14. ^ http://www.rdm.co.za/politics/2015/05/18/inside-the-all-out-assault-on-thuli-madonsela Inside the all-out assault on Thuli Madonsela
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 May 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 November 2009. Retrieved 31 May 2015. Reporting
  17. ^ http://ewn.co.za/2014/10/24/Is-Public-Protector-taking-on-too-many-investigations Is Public Protector taking on too many investigations
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 November 2009. Retrieved 31 May 2015. Jurisdiction
  19. ^ http://www.timeslive.co.za/politics/2015/02/26/public-protector-saved-from-insolvency-with-a-r60-million-budget-lifeline Public Protector saved from insolvency with a R60 million budget lifeline
  20. ^ http://www.timeslive.co.za/politics/2015/02/26/public-protector-saved-from-insolvency-with-a-r60-million-budget-lifeline www.timeslive.co.za/politics/2015/02/26/public-protector-saved-from-insolvency-with-a-r60-million-budget-lifeline
  21. ^ http://www.timeslive.co.za/politics/2014/11/27/madonsela-seeks-partners-to-help-overcome-funding-difficulties Madonsela seeks partners to help overcome funding difficulties

External links[edit]