The Office of the ANC Chief Whip is disappointed at the reaction of the Public Protector to the concern we expressed pertaining to her decision to attend a political party rally. We had expected the public protector to at least demonstrate appreciation that perceptions of political bias have the potential to erode the integrity of the institution and the excellent work she has done since taking office three years ago.
We thought that she will, rather than take a defensive posture and appear irritated at our observations, acknowledge our well-intentioned advice and undertake to exercise necessary caution in her future interaction with political formations.
It is unfortunate that, rather than recognize the reality that the credibility of her office in the eyes of the public is largely dependent on the kind of the company she keeps, she has elected to be dismissive. We feel let down by the manner in which she has opted to respond to our concern.
Despite all her excellent performance, for which we have constantly congratulated her and reaffirmed our support for her institution, the Public Protector needs to accept that she is still human. It is therefore inevitable that she will from time to time err in the course of her work. The notion that because she has performed excellently since taking office she is therefore incapable of being wrong is misguided.
Our highlighting of these mistakes when they happen is not intended to tarnish her reputation or rubbish the good work she continues to do. But it is in the interest of ensuring that her office continues to inspire confidence amongst the public and succeed in its work. The success of the Office of the Public Protector is the success of our country’s constitutional democracy. It is therefore in our interest that she succeeds.
We will be failing in our responsibility as the majority party in Parliament if we kept silent when key institutions supporting our democracy falters.
The Office of the ANC Chief Whip will seek a meeting with the Public Protector in an attempt to better understand one another on this matter.