Cape Town - Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane has urged the provincial legislature to follow up with the province on the implementation of reports from her office as part of their oversight role.
Mkhwebane made the call during a visit to the legislature where she revealed that the Western Cape office of the Public Protector was currently dealing with 325 cases that touched on the province.
During a meeting with Speaker Masizole Mnqasela and Deputy Speaker Beverley Schäfer she said her office would also follow up to ensure that the cases are presented to the relevant committees so that they could hold the various departments to account as to their lack of implementation of the reports.
“Of these cases there are 135 related to service delivery, 13 for corruption, 147 regarding maladministration, 19 for conduct inconsistent with the office or position, one systemic investigation, one own initiative investigation and nine case referrals.”
Acknowledging that there were some reports that have been taken on review by the provincial government, she said implementation of the outstanding reports was the most important issue.
Last October the public protector found Premier Alan Winde and Local Government MEC Anton Bredell, in breach of the Executive Ethics Act, and ordered Winde to act against Bredell within 60 days. This was the second time Bredell had been found in breach of the code.
In April this year Winde said he would not discipline Bredell, as advised by the public protector, and had instead taken the report on Bredell's breach of executive ethics code on review.
Speaker Mnqasela said ensuring that the executive was held to account was a shared responsibility between the legislature and the public protector.
“We have the responsibility as an institution, as a legislative arm of the State, to ensure that we work closely with the Chapter 9 and Chapter 10 institutions, most importantly, the Office of the Public Protector.”
Mnqasela said while he was keen to build a relationship with the Office of the Public Protector he had concerns about the possible overreach by the public protector in relation to the work done by the legislature under the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliaments and Provincial Legislatures Act.
“We discussed how the legislature could improve the relationship with the Office of the Public Protector as a chapter nine institution, to enable them to do their work.”
He said they also discussed putting systems in place to help reduce the time it takes the public protector to investigate matters.
He said things that should take less than a month to investigate, often take six months or more than the time prescribed by law.
“One of the possible reasons for this is that, at times, there is no systematic formal engagement in terms of the partnerships that are needed,” Mnqasela said.