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Government Employees Medical Scheme and Others v Public Protector of the Republic of South Africa and Others (1000/19) [2020] ZASCA 111

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Government Employees Medical Scheme and Others v Public Protector of the Republic of South Africa and Others (1000/19) [2020] ZASCA 111

2nd October 2020

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[1] To be sure, the office of the Public Protector, which has been described as ‘an indispensable constitutional guarantee’,[1] is afforded sweeping powers of investigation. But, those powers are not unconstrained. Prof Martin Krygier points out, the rule of law ‘requires that there be no privileged groups or institutions exempt from the scope of the law’.[2] Indeed, as Prof Woolman observes, the rule of law doctrine, which is ‘juridical, political and foundational’, and its twin, ‘the principle of accountability, cannot function solely as constitutional values. They must form part of the daily lived experience of most citizens and public officials’. [3]

[2] The rule of law and the principle of accountability require the Public Protector to act in accordance with the law and the Constitution. In terms of s 182(1) of the Constitution, the Public Protector has the power to:

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‘(a) investigate any conduct in state affairs, or in the public administration in any sphere of government, that is alleged or suspected to be improper or to result in any impropriety or prejudice;

(b) report on that conduct; and

(c) take appropriate remedial action.’

 

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