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Sat Dec 03 04:21:26 SAST 2016

‘You exist to support democracy‚’ new public protector on maiden visit to Parliament

Bianca Capazorio | 2016-10-19 11:02:33.0
Busisiwe Mkhwebane. File photo.
Image by: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane has hit the ground running in her new role‚ appearing before Parliament on Wednesday morning to present the organisation's 2015/16 annual report and to ask for additional funding.

Mkhwebane and her team received a warm welcome from committee chair Mathole Motshekga who assured her of the its "fullest support" and told her that her role had been clarified by the Constitutional Court ruling.

"You exist to support democracy‚" he said.

Mkhwebane‚ meanwhile‚ said her focus would be on “empowering people at grassroots level”‚ tackling a case backlog and improving staff morale‚ which is low.

Her deputy‚ Kevin Malunga‚ said that Mkhwebane had since Monday undergone “a packed induction programme”.

Mkhwebane‚ outlining some of the biggest challenges for her office‚ said the case management system had crashed‚ and raised the issue of office infrastructure.

In a bid to tackle funding issues‚ Mkhwebane said a moratorium had been placed on international flights since Tuesday.

She requested an additional R28-million in funding for the 2016/17 reporting year and R71-million‚ R82-million and R87-million for 2017/18‚ 2018/19 and 2019/2020 respectively.

Motshekga said he welcomed Mkhwebane’s “refreshing approach” towards dispute resolution‚ using negotiation as a tool rather than approaching the courts.

He said her role was important because “we can't have a government that is characterised by maladministration and corruption”.

– TMG Digital/Parliament

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