Madonsela needs more cash
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela wants an extra R50-million from the Treasury to employ more staff.
Speaking in Durban yesterday, Madonsela said the staff shortages in her office have forced her to assign cases to interns.
Her budget this year of R174-million, an increase from last year's R130-million, is not enough for salaries.
"We don't have a budget for [staff] expansion and it is for this reason that I will be engaging the Treasury towards the end of this month. Though the Treasury has been very generous by providing us with 10 more investigators, the number is not enough," Madonsela said.
She said her 300 staff had to deal with every organ of the state.
In the past financial year, her office received about 26000 complaints, which were assigned to 120 of her investigators.
Madonsela yesterday said the number of investigators would have to double to deal with the growing caseload.
"On average, an investigator has to have two to three files to investigate but, because of staff shortages, they have to go through between 30 and 54 files. We don't know where we will find people because we are dealing with complex matters. We would like to have complex matters such as corruption in government institutions thoroughly investigated but we have a big problem of staff."
She said the situation in Johannesburg is worse.
"Investigators have to deal with 30 files but, in Johannesburg, one investigator has to deal with 400. Our task is very difficult as we can't meet deadlines."
Her office also needs to employ call centre agents to process high volumes of complaints from the recently launched hotline.
Madonsela said that though she fully supported media freedom there was a need for self-regulation.
"It was unethical for the media to publish a leaked provisional report."
She was referring to a report on the R1.1-billion police lease for a Durban building that led to the dismissal of national police commissioner Bheki Cele and Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde.
Madonsela issued her first report on the police lease deals in February last year.
It tackled a R500-million lease deal for new police headquarters in Pretoria.
"While it compromised and jeopardised our work, it's not as if leaking a report will prevent us from investigating. Also, it's illegal [to leak the report] in terms of the Public Protector Act," she said.
To prevent further leaks, Madonsela has restricted complainants' access to documents.