Public Protector

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Office of the Public Protector (OPP)
National Institution overview
Formed October 1, 1995; 19 years ago (1995-10-01) [1]
Preceding National Institution
  • The Office of the Ombudsman [2]
Type Chapter nine institution
Jurisdiction Government
Headquarters 175 Lunnon Street, Hillcrest Office Park, 0083
Annual budget R153.7m ZAR(current) in 2014-15 [3]
National Institution executives
Parent National Institution None (independent)
Key documents
  • Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 108 of 1996 [5]
  • Public Protector Act 23 of 1994 [6]
  • Executive Members Ethics Act 82 of 1998 [7]
  • Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 (PAIA) [8]
  • Electoral Commission Act 51 of 1996 [9]
  • Special Investigation Units and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996 [10]
Website pprotect.org

The Office of the Public Protector is an external state institution of the Republic of South Africa, tasked with the investigation of misconduct in any state affairs and all spheres of government including that of public administration in the country. It is one of the Chapter nine institutions independent of the Government.

The office was established by the Constitution to support constitutional democracy in the country.

The Public Protector, since October 2009, is former Law Reform Commissioner and advocate, Thuli Madonsela. She 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. Similar to other Chapter Nine Institutions, the Public Protector serves to mainly protect the public's interest and fundamental human rights [11]

The office of the Public protector has been faced with harsh criticism by parliament specifically by the majority party [12] for requesting an increase of R200m in the budget allocation for additional resources. With the justice portfolio committee chairman Mathole Motshekga [13] 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 [14] 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 where 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.[15]

Organisational structure[edit]

The Public Protector has an executive office which administers three major programmes:[16]

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

Mandate[edit]

The office of the Public Protector is operated under the Public Protector Act of 1994 and serves as one of the Chapter 9 bodies of state institutions that support constitutional democracy. The office has the power to investigate any conduct in state affairs and any level of government, should there be an y allegations of maladministration. The Public Protector is the only institution that has the power to 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 office of the Public Protector was formed in terms of the Constitution of South Africa, in order to investigate complaints made by individuals against maladministration in Governmental Agencies and Institutions in which the Government is a shareholder.[17] The Public Protector is independent of government [18] though has to report to the National Assembly in terms of the constitution.

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.

Appointment[edit]

The Public Protector is appointed by the president, in accordance with the provisions of section 192 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.[19] The Public Protector has to date investigated at least 40 000 cases.[20]

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[edit]

Main article: Nkandla (homestead)

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 [21] 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 staff.[22] 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 and additional increase of R60m and not the R200m initially requested at the justice portfolio committee. As a result, the office of the Public Protector was required to make drastic cutbacks [23]

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, held meetings with development partners from German, Japan and Belgium countries.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ A brief history of the office
  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. ^ Leadership of the Public protector office
  5. ^ Constitution of the Republic of South Africa
  6. ^ Public Protector Act
  7. ^ Executive Members Ethics Act
  8. ^ Promotion of Access to Information Act
  9. ^ Electoral Commission Act
  10. ^ Special Investigation Units and Special Tribunals Act
  11. ^ http://www.pprotect.org/about_us/history_background.asp
  12. ^ http://citizen.co.za/378307/when-life-gives-you-lemons/ When life gives you lemons…
  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.biznews.com/undictated/2015/04/29/public-protectors-budget-briefing-descends-into-insults-rebukes/ Public Protector’s budget briefing descends into insults & rebukes
  15. ^ 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
  16. ^ http://www.pprotect.org/Library/strategic_plans/strategic_plans.asp
  17. ^ http://www.pprotect.org/about_us/history_background.asp
  18. ^ http://www.southafrica.info/about/democracy/pubprotect.htm#.VWranEYnnmM
  19. ^ http://www.pprotect.org/about_us/history_background.asp Reporting
  20. ^ http://ewn.co.za/2014/10/24/Is-Public-Protector-taking-on-too-many-investigations Is Public Protector taking on too many investigations
  21. ^ http://www.pprotect.org/about_us/history_background.asp Jurisdiction
  22. ^ 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
  23. ^ 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
  24. ^ 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]