On the Powers and Functions of the Public Protector
26 October 2014
The SACP welcomes the clarification provided by Judge Ashton Schippers of the Western Cape High Court on, amongst other things, the powers and functions of the Office of the Public Protector. We welcome the clarification that the decisions an dremedial action recommended by the Public Protector are not binding, though they must be engaged rationally.
The SACP re-affirms the importance and necessity of the institution of the Public Protector, particularly its role in curbing excessive and indiscriminate use of state power, including in the fight against corruption.
The SACP is however deeply concerned and worried about the fact that the current incumbent, Ms Thuli Madonsela, either does not understand the law in relation to the powers and functions of this important Office of the Public Protector or, even worse, she has been cynically manipulating the role of this office to give it the powers it does not have.
Ms Madonsela has been misleading the public and misrepresenting the powers of this office by claiming that her decisions are binding unless reviewed by a court of law. She, together with the DA, the band of anti-majoritarian liberals as well as large sections of the media, have actually been telling a lie in this regard. In fact, as the SACP we have been concerned that this posturing by the Public Protector is tantamount to an attempt to usurp the powers of the judiciary.
Our Constitution does not give any institution or person alone all the powers and functions of the police, the prosecution, magistrates and judges, the executive and related oversight and legislative bodies.
The SACP calls upon Parliament to ensure that none of the Chapter 9 institutions abuse their powers by any overreaching conduct or by overstepping their mandate.
Statement issued by the SACP Central Committee, October 26 2014
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