Parliament - The Public Protector needs a bigger budget of at least R1 billion, MPs heard on Thursday. The new CEO of the Chapter Nine institution, Themba Dlamini, said it needed double its current budget of R626 million for the three-year medium term period.
"Two times R626 million is R1.2 billion, that is why we are saying at least R1 billion," Dlamini told Parliament's portfolio committee on justice during a briefing on the office's budget and annual performance plan.
The demand was underscored by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane telling the committee that the institution was only functioning at 50 percent of its capacity due to budget constraints. Mkhwebane noted that resources were consumed by litigation as state entities took her office to court to challenge its findings.
She found succour from committee chairman Mathole Motshekga for a proposal that MPs consider amending the law governing the institution to provide for alternative review mechanisms, in lieu of the current prescript whereby only courts could overturn the Public Protector's findings.
"I want to support you when you say amend legislation then we can have other remedies and not all these issues," Motshekga said.
Motshekga then went on to appeal to the Public Protector to focus more attention on land issues, saying: "We focus on people who steal this and that from government but we are not doing anything about the issue of land. The question of land must be a priority. We must focus on finding out who owns what and how did they acquire that."
African News Agency