Urgent need for funding boost, says protector

Date: 06 Oct 2017

R884m required over three years to function adequately

THE Office of the Public Protector has asked for additional funding, amounting to more than R884 million from the National Treasury for the next three financial years.

The figure has been reduced from the R1 billion the institution requested to stay afloat when it tabled its budget earlier this year.

Briefing the justice and correctional services portfolio committee yesterday, Public Protector Busi Mkhwebane said the institution’s organisational structure was inadequately funded and they needed to establish an internal audit unit, among other things.

The cost of the envisaged internal audit unit is R3.5m compared with the R1.4m currently spent on outsourcing the function.

“We made a submission to the National Treasury to assist in that aspect,” Mkhwebane said.

“We depend on the committee and Parliament to motivate and assist to acquire more funding.”

Also briefing the committee, chief executive Themba Dlamini said the institution had 707 posts in its organogram, but only 392 posts were presently funded.

“The office requires additional funding of R746 474 926 over the medium term to fully fund the organisational structure. It is imperative that Public Protector of South Africa be funded properly in order to execute its constitutional mandate,” Dlamini said.

He added that there was a need to implement job evaluation conducted last year for administration personnel, and to align the salaries of investigators with occupational-specific dispensation requirements.

“To avoid CCMA court battles and staff discouragement, it is imperative that staff salaries be corrected to promote productivity.”

A total of R26m in additional funding would be spent on their case management system, and R18m on litigation, amid the growing number of reports being taken on judicial review.

A figure of R7.5m has been requested for video conferencing facilities, R9m for an integrated telephone system and call centre as well as R31m for subject matter experts used in complex investigations.

Dlamini also said R19m was requested to beef up security at their offices.

“It should be noted that we deal with sensitive cases and investigations that require safekeeping and security of information.

“Security of our offices is, therefore, key and requires immediate funding.”

Security at state institutions has been an issue with breakins reported at the offices of the National Prosecuting Authority and the chief justice.

By Mayibongwe Maqhina - mayibongwe.maqhina@inl.co.za

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