Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela has welcomed the decision of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development to engage with her following the recent visit by two counter intelligence officials from the South African Police Service to her office.
Briefing the committee on the officials’ visit to her office last Wednesday, the Public Protector reiterated that the incident in question was an unannounced and inappropriate visit that did not involve any force, search and seizure.
The Committee threw its weight behind the Public Protector, affirming the responsibility of the Public Protector to investigate improper conduct in state affairs, report on that conduct and take appropriate remedial action.
The Committee further highlighted that in terms of Section 181(3) of the Constitution, other organs of state, through legislative and other measures, must assist and protect the Public Protector and other state institutions supporting constitutional democracy to ensure the independence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness of these institutions.
The Public Protector was appreciative of the Committee’s support and reassurance, indicating that it would go a long way to allay staffs’ fears that her office was under attack and allow them to get on with their duties without any concerns.
“I am also grateful that the National Commissioner of Police called to apologise and condemn the action. He assured us that the visit had not been sanctioned by police management and immediately took action to investigate the matter,” said Madonsela.
She added that the visit could have been handled better by making prior arrangements and indicating the reason for the action beforehand.
Committee members expressed their concern at the inappropriate visit, agreeing that the constitutional injunction on organs of state to assist and support the Public Protector needs to be upheld at all times.
The Public Protector said she was encouraged by the support shown by all sectors of society and trusts that the matter will be dealt with in accordance with the Constitution and the law.