Public Protector to only defend 13 out of the 21 cases on judicial review due to constraints

2019-03-01 08:43
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Pic: Netwerk24)

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. (Pic: Netwerk24)

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Public Protector advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane on Thursday revealed that the institution will only be able to defend 13 out of the 21 cases on judicial review.

"As we speak, 21 out of the more than 70 investigation reports that I have issued since I assumed duty are under review.

"We are defending only 13 due to these resource constraints. In the rest of the cases we have opted to abide by whatever the courts will eventually decide," Mkhwebane said at a briefing at the institution's headquarters in Tshwane.

The briefing was aimed at naming and shaming organs of state that have defied the remedial action that she had recommended in her reports.

"Despite repeated instances of writing to them, following up on implementation and, in some cases, holding meetings with them, our pleas have simply fallen on deaf ears.

"The parties concerned have neither met the time frames stipulated in the reports nor fully implemented the remedial action, if at all," she said.

OVERVIEW: 'Maladministration is a fertile ground for corruption' - Mkhwebane names and shames state organs that defy her directives

While the Public Protector did not specify what the 13 cases would be, she said they spoke to the core mandate of the institution.

"How we choose which cases to defend is by looking at the ones that will have an impact on the mandate of the Public Protector," she told the media.

This, however, will come at a hefty price which exceeds the Public Protector's budget and resources.

"There is a success rate in cases where we defend, about R1.9m in costs is coming back to us where we have been successful.

"We have budgeted R4m in the past year for litigation but we spent more. This financial year we have budgeted R10m to defend matters on review," Mkhwebane explained.

Mkhwebane also took the opportunity to commend organs of state that readily welcome her reports and implement the suggested remedial action.

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"They understand that we are there to point them to their mistakes so that they can get it right in the future," she said.

An example of this is Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Uhuru Moiloa according to the Public Protector.

This comes after a report found that the Department of Human Settlements in the province had wronged a group of 45 business people contracted to construct low-cost houses in the Alexandra township in the late 90s.

The department accepted the findings and "is in the process of doing right by the people affected".

"For this I would like to single out MEC Moiloa, who has gone beyond just complying in this case but went further to assure me of his department's full cooperation with my office in other matters.

"There are many other public office-bearers who, like MEC Moiloa, respect this institution and understand that it is not about me but the complainants who look to my office to vindicate their rights," she concluded.

Read more on:    public protector  |  busisiwe mkhwebane  |  judiciary

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