Heath Investigating Unit; Public Protector

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Justice and Correctional Services

23 May 2000
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

JUSTICE AND CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
24 May 2000
HEATH SPECIAL INVESTIGATING UNIT; PUBLIC PROTECTOR

Acting Chairperson: Ms P Jana (ANC)

Documents Handed Out:
Heath Special Investigating Unit - extract attached (as Appendix 1) from Power Point presentation (email
info@pmg.org.za for full presentation)
Public Protector presentation (Appendix 2)

SUMMARY
Judge Heath discussed the present status of proclamations and the reasons for their backlog. He believed that the Unit should be permanent as corruption is always present.

When questioned on the possibility of establishing other units, Judge Heath said that duplication of the Unit would be expensive and time-consuming. He recommended instead that the Department increase funding to expand the resources and scope of the existing Unit. Judge Heath warned that they would have difficulty finding judges to head other investigative units, since few judges would be willing to give up the fringe benefits associated with sitting on the bench. It was made very clear that other judges did not "envy" his position.

He noted that they had lost lawyers to other areas of the public sector due to non-competitive salaries.

The Public Protector, Adv S Baqwa, addressed the insufficient funding that his Office had received over the past two financial years. The funds granted were approximately R8 million short of the requested amount. Mr Baqwa stated the shortfall had placed severe pressure on his staff who were unable to deal with the backlog of cases and lengthened the turn-around time for investigations. As a result, 14 153 cases will be carried forward into the 2000/2001 financial year. Expansion of service delivery into the Eastern Cape was also limited due to the Office's inability to appoint additional personnel.

Discussion focused on both personnel and the backlog of cases. Adv Baqwa stated that without the necessary resources, the Office of the Public Protector would not be able to investigate complaints speedily and effectively and would lose its credibility as an institution.

MINUTES
Heath Special Investigating Unit
(See Appendix)
The committee heard from Judge Willem Heath, head of the Heath Special Investigation Unit and Herman Coetzee, the Financial Manager of the HSIU, regarding the activities of the Unit and their budget for the 2000 financial year.

Special attention was given to the state of proclamations. As of 31 March 2000, the investigative unit had 127 proclamations still outstanding. The total number of proclaimed investigations as of the same date was 65.

There were approximately 120 000 un-audited cases still under investigation by the Unit for the 1999/2000 financial year. It is expected that this number will increase to 168 000 for the 2000/2001 year.

During the period between 1 April 1999 and 31 March 2000, the number of orders reached by tribunals was 135. The value of those orders was R314 823 472, of which R111,666,968 had been recovered. The projected value of cases still under investigation as of 31 March was almost R1.8 billion.

In a summary of 2000/2001 Budget, Judge Heath warned the committee that R6 million was required to sustain its current operational activities. That amount exceeds the unit's available operating budget by R3.2 million.

Judge Heath clarified the issue of excess monies in the budget: the Unit had received R4 million from the Department of Justice four days prior to the end of the 1998/1999 financial year. This money had been carried over to the next financial year.

Judge Heath warned that their budget would be insufficient for the coming year. There is a need for more funds to fulfill the unit's functions and to pay staff.

Discussion
(Q) Ms Jana (ANC) requested a breakdown of the unit's structure and salary scales in relation to other anti-corruption institutions?

(A) Judge Heath said that the Unit consisted of 17 lawyers, 15 auditors, 3 accountants, 3 computer specialists, and numerous support staff. Judge Heath stated that the unit had lost 4 lawyers to other areas of the public service due to non-competitive salaries. Lawyers who had left the employ of the Unit for similar positions elsewhere had their salaries increased by 50%.

(Q) Ms Camerer (NNP) said that there were cases under investigation, with the value of 1.8 billion rand and also 127 outstanding proclamations. She wanted to know if the judge could illustrate what was outstanding, by using an example.

There was some discussion as to the accuracy of the present value of cases under investigation which stated the amount, as of 31 March 2000, to be R1.8 billion. Judge Heath admitted that the amount definitely had now surpassed the R2 billion mark.

(Q) Mr Mabeta (UDM) wanted to know if the outstanding proclamations were related to the problems of processing the proclamations.

(A) Judge Heath stated that the 127 outstanding proclamations were being delayed by the Department of Justice. He admitted that the delays created a negative perception that politicians were deciding which cases should be investigated, but felt the delays were unavoidable. In order to obtain a proclamation, the Unit must first draft a proclamation of motivation which is sent to the Department of Justice. The draft is then scrutinized by the Department, and then sent to the relevant Premier or Minister depending on whether the matter falls within the provincial or national scope. The draft is then returned to the Minister of Justice, before being referred to the President.

Imam Solomon (ANC) queried whether it was possible for cases before the Unit to be sent to other judicial systems or tribunal mechanisms

Judge Heath stated that the Unit performed a different function to most other anti-corruption bodies which made it difficult to send cases elsewhere. Reference was made to the Scorpions which deal specifically with criminal matters. The Unit focuses on civil matters. He stated, however, that the Unit had worked very closely with the Public Protector and the Department of Justice on numerous investigations. Cases had also been referred by the State Attorney, since the Unit had significantly greater investigative resources.

(Q) Imam Solomon (ANC) asked why the Commission viewed itself as a long-term institution?

(A) Judge Heath said it was necessary that the unit be long-term given the fact that corruption could never be curbed. He praised the government's attempts to reduce corruption, and reiterated his commitment to continue the fight against corruption.

(Q) Adv Masutha (ANC) asked if the Unit had constitutional obligations to fulfill, and what the relationship is between it and other bodies?

(A) Judge Heath replied that the Unit did not see itself as a constitutional body, but rather as working to achieve what is set out in Section 33 of the Constitution

(Q) Ms de Lille (PAC) wanted to know whether the Unit had been invited to revise the Unit's Medium Term Expenditure Framework baseline with the Department of Finance?

The question was also raised as to the possibility of attaining donor funding.

(A) Judge Heath replied that the Department of Justice was not prepared to amend the Unit's budget.

He further stated the Unit should be entitled to receive donations. The public has been hesitant to make donations due to politicians who have publicly stated they disagree with Unit accepting donations. He felt that donations would be acceptable if correct procedures were followed.

Mr Mabeta (UDM) asked why the personnel statistics in their report had been gender separated for whites, but not blacks? Judge Heath responded that they had followed the requirements of the Employment Equity Act. The Act did not specify that the gender of black employees be listed separately.

(Q) Ms Jana asked if there was a need to establish a permanent Special Investigating Unit?

(A) Judge Heath replied the legislation did not make provisions for a permanent body, but clearly stated that the government would be unwise to see the Unit's role as a temporary measure. A report has been submitted to the Minister of Justice outlining the problems of establishing other investigative units. The Report stated, in clear terms, how difficult it would be to implement similar infrastructures for other units. It was also stated that the duplication of the Unit would be expensive and time-consuming. Judge Heath recommended instead that the Department increase funding to expand the resources and scope of the existing Unit.

(Q) A member queried why the staff had been hired on a permanent basis, when it was not the government's intention to continue the Unit's work?

(A) Judge Heath responded that staff had been employed on a permanent basis to ensure that they could retain the most qualified persons for the posts. Previous attempts had been made to staff the Unit by seconding members of the South African Police Services. This practice was abandoned for various reasons. These included the high cost to the Department of Justice for employing SAPS officials, as well as the inability to keep those officials for extended periods of time due to constraints already facing SAPS.

(Q) The Chair asked how the Unit compared to other international anti-corruption agencies?

(A) Judge Heath responded that the South African Unit was equal to the leading investigative Units of America, Germany and Hong Kong. He accredited their success to the unit's use of well-developed techniques and the constant training of staff members. The Unit was viewed as one of the most sophisticated bodies in the world. He added that other countries had expressed concern over the possibility that it may be terminated.

(Q) Ms Botha (ANC) asked what was the scope of the unit's operation?

(A) Judge Heath responded that the unit had been operating on a national level since 1997 with offices in Durban and Midrand. He dismissed the claim that the unit should have offices in each of the provinces, stating that it would not be feasible. He felt the existing offices were well placed to deal with all matters before them.

(Q) Dr Delport (DP) asked if Judge Heath would like to return to the Bench?

(A) Judge Heath denied any intention of returning to the bench. He warned the committee that they would have difficulty finding judges to head other investigation units, since few judges would be willing to give up the fringe benefits associated with sitting on the bench. It was made clear that other judges did not "envy" his position.

Presentation by the Public Protector
Adv Selby Baqwa, the Public Protector briefed the committee on the present state of the Office of the Public Protector (See Appendix).

Mr Baqwa addressed the insufficient funding that they had received for the 1999/2000 financial year. The amount the Office was granted was R8 136 000 short of their requested amount. Mr Baqwa stated the shortfall had placed severe pressure on his staff who were unable to deal with the backlog of cases, and which lengthened the turn-around time for investigations. As a result, 14 153 cases will be carried forward into the 2000/2001 financial year. Expansion of service delivery into the Eastern Cape was also limited due to the Office's inability to appoint additional personnel.

Mr Baqwa also criticized the lack of adequate funding for the poor amalgamation of the previous Ombudsman's Office in the North West Province as a regional office of the Public Protector. The R5 million for the amalgamation had to be taken from his already limited budget. Discussions had been held with the Department of Justice, State Expenditure and the North West Provincial Legislature, but no funding was secured.

Adv Baqwa stated the shortfall of R8 922 000 of their requested amount for the 2000/2001 financial year had exacerbated the problems from the previous year.

Adv Baqwa concluded that without the necessary resources, the Office of the Public Protector would not be able to investigate complaints speedily and effectively, and would lose its credibility as an institution.

Discussion
(Q) The Chair asked for a breakdown of the personnel in the Office of the Public Protector?

(A) Adv Baqwa stated they currently employed 83 people, and were expecting to appoint an additional 31 staff by the end of the year. Of the 83 employees, 46 were located at the Head Office in Pretoria, while the remaining 37 were located in the two regional offices at Midrand and Durban. The staff in Pretoria consists of 22 senior investigators, 3 chief investigators, 1 chief administrative officer, 1 Human Resources Manager, and 18 support personnel. The Regional offices consist of 2 senior officials, 12 investigators, and 23 support personnel. Adv Baqwa said that they hoped to increase the number of offices to six by the end of this year, and be in all the provinces by the end of 2001.

(Q) The Chair asked how the Office was dealing with the backlog of cases, especially in the North-West Province?

(A) Adv Baqwa stated the backlog was a result of frivolous cases being brought forward. He attributed the increased caseload to greater public awareness of the Office and its services, and to the public's support in the effectiveness of the Office. He admitted there was an extensive backlog in the North West Office, but stated that it resulted from the high credibility of the Zimbabwean Judge who runs that Office, and the public's "culture of relying on ombudsmen" in that area. Adv Baqwa assured the committee that they were constantly looking for innovative ways to deal with the backlog.

(Q) Adv Masutha (ANC) asked if other department's could assist in easing the backlog of cases, as well as what measures were being taken to sift through the complaints?

(A) Adv Baqwa replied that they had worked extensively with many institutions to ensure that cases were processed as quickly as possible. These institutions included the Heath Special Investigating Unit, the Office of the Auditor General and the Department of Justice. On the sifting process, Adv Baqwa stated that a senior investigator reviewed new complaints on a weekly basis to determine which complaints should enter the system. A substantial number of the letters received fell outside the scope of the Public Protector. Letters were to those individuals informing them of the appropriate procedures that they must follow. Although, the sifting process had reduced the backlog of cases, he admitted that the time required to solve complaints was worrisome. Complaints take approximately three months to resolve. The Office of the Public Protector is working alongside other agencies to ensure that these time periods are reduced.

(Q) Mr Mgidi (ANC) asked if any steps had been taken to reach rural areas?

(A) Adv Baqwa replied that the Office was working very hard to increase services in the rural areas. One of their initiatives, the Public Awareness Programme, was launched on 20 May 1999. The project consisted of workshops that focused on training officials from the Public Service and individuals from NGOs to empower and educate individuals living in rural areas on the existence of the Office and its functions. The project were being run in all nine provinces.

The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix 1:

Appendix 1: Extracts of Presentation

HEATH SPECIAL INVESTIGATING UNIT BUDGET VOTE HEARING FOR 2000

INTERNATIONAL COMMITMENT AGAINST CORRUPTION

· The Independent Commission Against Corruption Silver Jubilee Conference - Hong Kong

· Integrity Round Table Conference on State of Corruption - Zambia

· The 2nd Annual SADC Regional Round Table discussion - Tanzania

· The IAACC IX International Anti-Corruption Conference - Durban

· Commonwealth Association on Public Administration and Management - New Delhi, India

 

MAJOR STRENGHTS OF THE UNIT
·
The Unit was established by the first democratic Government of our country

· In various aspects the Unit plays a role that cannot be fulfilled by other institutions as can be seen in the nature and extent of the powers of the Unit as detailed in Section 2 (2) and section (4) of the Act. This not only includes the basic civil courses of action but in particular those for in Section 2 (2), excluding the State Attorney (which has litigating powers not including all the powers in Section 2 (2)

· The Unit has received national and international recognition for the goals and objectives it stands for

· The Unit works closely with all other anti-corruption bodies such as the Public Protector, the Investigating Directorate: Serious Economic Offences, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Office of the Auditor General, the SAP Services Commercial Branch and SARS
·
The Unit has well trained and skilled manpower which were developed over the past 3 years since establishment

· The Unit has developed unique methods and procedures to reach it's objectives and goals through the skills of its members, in-house training and development and experience

· The Unit has established strong support services such as the IT section, HR and Training, Finance and General Admin and a Special team consisting of experts in various fields

· A strong discipline of Staff development and monthly training exist at the Unit

· Through the knowledge and expertise the Unit has acquired over the years, unique systems and software developments exist and new systems are being developed

· The members of the Unit are passionate about the mammoth task on hands

MANPOWER STATISTICS AS ON 31 MARCH 2000

CATEGORY

TOTAL

% OF TOTAL

Black

25

26

Coloured

8

8

Indian

7

7

White Female

25

26

Disabled

0

-

White Male

33

34

TOTAL

98

100

 

BUDGET 2000/2001

Increase in Costs from Previous Financial Year
1. Salaries

· Problems Facing the Unit in 1999

· Huge increase in staff at the end of 1998 (due to major understaffing) at below market related salaries (New appointments = 57)

· Salary packages substantially below the market

· Staff turnover of 16 and major crisis looming of more staff resignations

· No incentive for Performance

· Uncertainty about the future of Unit

Action taken:

· Revised Job grading using the Peromnes System

· Developed a revised Pay Structure using the Peromnes indicators

· Determined the External Pay Indicator (EPI) for each position and compared current pay structures

· Applied the Market Predictor table in the Market Movement section of the September FSA remuneration surveys to facilitate projection towards a certain date

· Adjusted salary packages in line with the EPI where possible

Applied a performance appraisal system to evaluate and award a small (total average of 2.3 % due to budget constraints) performance incentive to staff who qualified

Action Plans:

· Revise MTEF baseline calculation to ensure future sustainability

· Request Ad Hoc funding for the current financial year from State Expenditure to sustain the activities for the current financial year

· Revise current funding mechanism through Department of Justice

· Donor Funding from Private sector and Government bodies and structures

Conclusion

I believe and so do all the members of this Unit, that the problems we are facing are only temporary obstacles from which a solution can be found.

We and every citizen in our country salute our government for taking corruption in our country seriously by creating such a Unit as ourselves.

We believe that if everyone in our country will fight corruption with the same passion as the members of this Unit, there will be a brighter future for all of us and for the generations to come.

Appendix 2:

OFFICE OF THE PUBLIC PROTECTOR

BUDGET VOTE HEARINGS FOR 2000

INTRODUCING THE OFFICE OF THE PUBLIC PROTECTOR

· AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE PUBLIC PROTECTOR

To investigate any conduct in state affairs, or in public administration in any sphere of government that is alleged or suspected to be improper or to result in any impropriety or prejudice, to report on that conduct, and to take appropriate remedial action.

· FUNCTIONS OF THE PUBLIC PROTECTOR

The office has the following core functions:

-To undertake investigators within its sphere of jurisdiction

-To provide administrative support for such investigations

FINANCIAL YEAR: 1999/2000

The following issues address the activities for the financial year 1 April 1999 to 31 March 2000

1. FINANCE

1.1 Allocation of Budget: 1999/2000 Financial Year

In the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) my office requested a budget of R23 535 000. However, only R15 399 000 was approved and allocated to my office. As a result of the shortfall of R8 136000, severe pressure was put on the staff in my office to cope with an impossible workload. Service delivery was affected since I did not have enough staff to cope with the backlog which was built in the first place because of a lack of resources and the turn around time for investigations was much too long.

The allocated budget was utilised to incur the following items of expenditure:

Personnel Expenditure: R1O 527 836

Administrative Expenditure : R 2 164 395

Stores: R 403 446

Equipment: R 2 039 984

Professional & Special Services: R 767 494

Miscellaneous: R 65 274

Total: R15 968 429

1.2 Audit Report

My office does not have the necessary resources (finance, personnel, and information systems) and infrastructure to maintain a fully operational financial division. To overcome this problem, an agreement was reached with the Minister of Justice that his Department will assist my office in the rendering of such needed financial support services. Hence, all accounting records are processed, maintained and audited at the Department of Justice although, the budget and expenditure is controlled by my office. The audit report for my office will therefore be included in the audit report of the Department of Justice.

2. PROGRAMME AND SERVICE DELIVERY

2.1 Expansion of Office

With the limited budget, my office had expanded its services into the Eastern Cape Province with effect from 1 June 1999 (details given in paragraph 3.3.2 below). The overall functioning of the Office of the Ombudsman in the North West Province was taken over by my office with effect from 1 April 1999.

2.2 Public Awareness Campaign

A national public awareness campaign for the office of the Public Protector was launched on 20 May 1999. The project which was funded by the European Union Foundation for Human Rights in South Africa, was conducted jointly by my office and Lawyers for Human Rights.

The project consisted of workshops which were held in all nine provinces. It focused on training officials from Public Service and individuals from NGO's to empower and educate them on the existence of the office and its functions. The campaign aimed at getting the correct responses from officials to expedite my investigations, and through NGO's to reach the rural communities and the illiterate, but in such a way that only complaints I can deal with are forwarded to me. Development of course material for these workshops consisted primarily of two (2) videos of the office and manuals on its core functions/activities.

The EU Foundation has assisted in providing funding of approximately R500 000 to incur all related expenditure for this campaign.

2.3 Number of cases received for investigation

The following is an overview of the workload that the office of the Public Protector had received for the period 1 April 1999 to 31 March 2000:

 

National Office: Pretoria

Regional Office: North West

Regional Office: Eastern Cape

Total

Total Cases carried forward

3 166

5 858

354

9 378

Total Cases received

3 423

5 065

1 098

9 586

Total Cases finalised

780

3 674

350

4 804

Total Cases carried Forward

5 807

7 249

1 097

14 153

 

As can be seen from the above-mentioned statistics, it becomes clearly evident that the office is in dire need of personnel and other resources to address this huge backlog.

3. PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED

3.1 Appointment of personnel

A work study investigation was conducted in my office and based thereon, it was recommended that additional posts be created to the existing establishment in order to manage the backlog and projected increase in investigations. Such recommendations were approved as per the organisation and post establishment blueprint.

As a result of the of shortfall of R8 136 000 in the requested budget, the following personnel could not be appointed:

1 x Assistant to the Public Protector

11 x Senior Investigators

3 x Investigator Assistants

1 x Financial Manager

1 x Chief Typist

The services of these key personnel would have contributed to improved service delivery. According to the norm laid down by a work study investigation, the eleven (11) Senior Investigators would have translated into at least another 1 320 cases being finalised for the year.

3.2 Expansion of Service Delivery

It was planned to expand the services of the office into the Eastern Cape Province as a matter of priority due to the difficulties experienced with investigations for this Province. Once again, due to budgetary constraints, this planned activity could not be realised. However with the assistance of the Premier of the Eastern Cape Province an interim office was established. It comprised of one (1) Senior Investigator from my office and eight (8) supernumerary staff from the Eastern Cape Provincial government. It was not possible to create a fully operational office due to a lack of funds needed to appoint suitably qualified and experienced personnel. Although a start was made, the office whilst fully functional and operational, is not yet at full operational capacity and is therefore not able to realise the desired level cf service delivery.

3.3 Rental of Office Accommodation

In the MTEF, my office did not make any budgetary provisions for the rental of additional office accommodation both at national and provincial levels. The reason for this being that it was understood that such related expenditure would be met from the budget of the Department of Public Works. My office was never informed to the contrary.

As a result of this non-provision, R220 000 had to be made available from the limited budget to incur this much needed expenditure. The committee needs to be informed that provision has now been made in the MTEF to accommodate such related expenditure based on the costing from the Department of Public Works.

3.4 Amalgamation of the North West Ombudsman office

The North West Ombudsman office had been functioning in terms of transitional arrangements under the Constitution and was being funded by the North West Province. Since my office is a national responsibility, the Province had indicated that it cannot continue funding this office beyond the 1998/1999 financial year.

A work study investigation was done in the Ombudsman office on my behalf and a proposed blueprint organisation and post establishment was put in place to enable that office to be amalgamated as a regional office of the office of the Public Protector.

Approximately RS million was needed for the amalgamation. The Ombudsman office was taken over with effect from 1 April 1999 without the necessary funds. My office had engaged in numerous discussions with the various role players in this regard viz; the departments of Justice, State Expenditure and the North West Provincial Legislature to try and secure the necessary funding.

Unfortunately, no funding was made available to my office notwithstanding that fact that my office took over a function from the Province. This meant that all expenditure for the Ombudsman office had to be met from my already limited office budget. In doing so, much needed resources had to be sacrificed to accommodate this amalgamation. The alternative would have been to close the Ombudsman office. This would not only have resulted in the loss of a fully operational office but also staff losing their jobs and a consequent influx of complaints hitherto dealt with by that office to my office. The result would have been an exacerbation of the existing backlog situation.

This has proved to be a serious problem for my office, as it did not receive the necessary attention it so rightly deserved.

FINANCIAL YEAR 2000/2001

4.1 BUDGET

In the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), the office had requested that a budget of R32 891 000 be made available to undertake all existing and envisaged activities. However, only R23 969 000 was approved and allocated. This leaves the office with a shortfall of R8 922 000.

4.2 ALLOCATION OF FUNDS

The allocated budget of R23 969 000 will be utilised as follows:

Personnel Expenditure: R18 700 000

Administrative Expenditure: R 3 249 000

Stores: R 550 000

Equipment: R 430 000

Professional & Special Services: R 890 000

Miscellaneous: R 150 000

Total: R23 969 000

4.3 PROGRAMME FOR THE CURRENT FINANCIAL YEAR

4.3.1 Hosting of the Annual International Ombudsman Institute Conference (101)

The seventh annual 101 conference will be held in South Africa in October 2000. It is estimated that approximately seven hundred (700) delegates from around the world will be attending. This is a first not only for South Africa but, for Africa as a whole. Given this historic and prestigious event, it becomes imperative that adequate funds are available to ensure the overall success of an event of such magnitude.

Approximately R2 970 000 will be utilised to host this conference. The matter was discussed and supported by President Mbeki, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Justice, the Department of Foreign Affairs and members of the legislative assembly. The office is also currently engaged in securing possible sponsorships to assist with the hosting of this conference.

4.3.2 Expansion of Service Delivery

The office will expand its services into the Provinces of Kwa Zulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Western Cape. Each office will be headed by a Regional Representative and supported by staff as approved in the organisation and establishment blue print for the office of the Public Protector. Due to budgetary constraints, it would not be possible to implement fully operational regional offices. The offices will have to function with limited resources.

4.3.3 Public Awareness Campaign

The office will continue to embark on a public awareness campaign. The office hopes to extend this successful project during the latter part of 2000. Plans include further training as there is obviously a tremendous need for such as well as the production and large scale distribution of a publication on the office. The overall success of this project will depend solely on the availability of funding from the European Union.

4.3.4 Number of cases received for investigation

The following is an overview of the workload that the office of the Public Protector had received for the period 1 April 2000 to 17 May 2000:

 

National Office: Pretoria

Regional Office: North West

Regional Office: Eastern Cape

Total

Total Cases carried forward

5 807

7 249

1 097

14 153

Total Cases received

603

401

171

1175

Total Cases finalised

579

100

33

712

Total Cases carried Forward

5 831

7 550

1 235

14 616

 

5. PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED

5.1 Appointment of personnel

The shortfall in the allocated budget places severe limitations on the office in appointing the much needed personnel.

The following is a breakdown of personnel who cannot be appointed onto my establishment due to the lack of funds:

1 x Assistant to the Public Protector

8 x Senior Investigators

7 x Investigators

6 x Investigator Assistants

1 x Provisioning Manager

1 x Chief Admin Clerk

1 x Personnel Practitioner

4 x Typists

5.2 Rental: Office Accommodation

The office is of the opinion that adequate funding was not made available to acquire the identified additional office accommodation, both at national and provincial levels. Budgetary provisions were made in the MTEF based on costing supplied by the Department of Public Works. Of the R23 969 000 allocated budget, R1 500 000 will be spent on the hiring of office accommodation.

CONCLUSION

As can be seen from the above, a major problem facing my office is that it is still not yet adequately resourced. However, having raised this issue, I have noted with appreciation the substantial increase in the budget allocated to my office for the 1999/2000 and 2000/2001 financial years.

I am aware of the tight fiscal conditions under which these substantial increases were made and I sincerely appreciate the welcome relief these increases have brought to the office. However, my office budget proposal was based on the resources necessary to deal with the existing workload and a projected increase in incoming complaints. Even expansion into the Provinces by means of regional offices is planned on the current workload emanating from those Provinces. Therefore, any cut to the budget request would result in the office not being able to deal adequately with the workload.

My office is supposed to be a model for efficiency. It is supposed to be an institution, which investigates complaints speedily and effectively. That is the essence of an Ombudsman office. Without the necessary resources, my office would not be able to attain it set goals. To deny the office the capacity it needs would result in the office loosing its credibility and make it impossible for staff to remain in their current jobs because of the unacceptable workload.

It must be stressed that the office is careful not to take on any investigation that does not fall within its area of jurisdiction. It is however not in a position to choose its projects in the sense that it cannot show a citizen with a complaint away. It has to deal with all matters received. I can only ask that these difficulties are taken into account in the budgeting process

In concluding, I would like to express my greatest appreciation for the

co-operation that we continue to receive from the Department of Justice. Having said that, it my intention to establish and implement the necessary information systems for finance and human resource management in my office by the end of March 2001. Should this be successful, the Department of Justice would no longer be required to provide any support service to my office. The intended change is to be effected with the full co-operation of the Departments of Justice and State Expenditure.

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