Briefing Parliamentarians in her maiden speech about the office of the Public Protector’s annual report, South Africa’s new Public Protector Ms. Busisiwe outlined a number of tasks her office hopes to accomplish.
Ranging from additional funds for the institution to empowering people at grass-roots level who would be able to hold leaders to account, Mkhwebane promised to do her best while her tenure lasts.
The Public Protector clocked three-day-old in her new job today. Her emergence was greatly applauded by MPs – except the DA who has never supported her right from day one.
Standing before Parliament’s justice committee MPs, the new Public Protector made some striking remarks. In summary, she promised to do the following in order to bring out the best in the office of the Public Protector:
- Re-energized low morales of some staff at the Public Protector Office
- Efficiently and effectively handle the backlogs in the institution
- Judiciously carry out her duty without fear or favor
- Increase access to the office’s services to ensure that people at grass-roots level enjoyed the country’s constitutional democracy
- Negotiate with the public broadcaster and other media houses to act as ambassadors for public awareness around the work of the office of the Public Protector
- According to her, the office of the Public Protector will henceforth engage traditional leaders, schools and tertiary institutions.
- She reiterated that she would always attend to high-profile matters urgently and neutrally.
- Ensure that her office is responsive to the needs of the country, and instill a culture of resolving disputes and people’s concerns through negotiations.
In conclusion, she called for a bigger budget for the office and the need for more office space. Mkhwebane also told MPs that the so-called state report was handed to Advocate Fourie, the head of legal services when questions of the report were posed to her.
“The report is kept safely in the safe of the head of legal services. I don’t have a safe in my office [or] a very secure way of keeping it,” she said.
In summary, Ms. Busisiwe promised to give an update on the status of the report.