Protector, govt must build relationship - Mandonsela

Johannesburg - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela believes the relationship between her office and the government needs to be strengthened, her spokesperson said on Friday.

"The public protector said at the centre of dialogue [with stakeholders is] the need to solidify synergies between her office and government, with a view to ensuring seamlessness in public service delivery," spokesperson Kgalalelo Masibi said in a statement.

Madonsela, speaking at the University of the Witwatersrand's Business School in Johannesburg on Thursday, said her office's stakeholder dialogue for the year was focused on enhancing working relations between the public protector and organs of state.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura, speaker of the provincial legislature Ntobi Mekgwe and the Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau were part of the panel at the dialogue.

Madonsela said her office was created by the Constitution to inform the government when they "missed some spots" while executing their responsibilities, and that they should admit and make amends when they did.

"She quoted from... the Constitution, reiterating... the responsibility of organs of state to assist and protect independent constitutional institutions such as her office to ensure their independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness, and that no person or organs of state may interfere with their functioning," said Masibi.

Makhura said his office was committed to implementing the reports of all institutions established in the Constitution, including that of the public protector.

"When members of the public come to you to complain about government we can't complain about you as government. We have to look at the issues," said Makhura.

He said his office would deal with problems and not wait until they were brought to Madonsela's office.

"Most of the issues that come to you [Madonsela] can be resolved by us. They just need our will to act. Sometimes we are not humble enough to admit when we are wrong," he said.

Mekgwe said her office was planning a workshop with Madonsela's Gauteng office to strengthen co-operation, while Tau said the public protector's office had helped to pass a by-law that would see the establishment of an ombudsman's office to deal with service delivery complaints.