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Protector wants more money

Oct 12 2012 16:32
Cape Town - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela told MPs on Friday that her office has asked for additional funding of R64m in the next financial year.

In the following three years there would be requests for extra funds of between R50m and R60m a year, she told Parliament's portfolio committee on justice during a briefing on the office's annual report.

"We have been negotiating with Treasury to say, honestly, we do need an increase," Madonsela said.

In motivating the request, she said that since its inception, the Office of the Public Protector had not received a budget baseline readjustment, and even though its responsibilities had grown, it had made do with increases of roughly 10% per year.

Its budget for this financial year was R195.8m.

Madonsela argued that the state would eventually save whatever additional money it afforded her office, because of its role in fighting corruption and recovering misspent funds.

"In the end, the additional money will be recovered through our contribution in addressing systematic maladministration."

Justice committee chairperson Luwellyn Landers said members had not yet decided whether to support the request "but that does not mean we have said no".

Madonsela was given a grilling by the committee last year over her salary, with ANC MPs suggesting it was excessive and should be capped. At R1.789m a year, it is the same as that earned by provincial premiers and judges of the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court.

The Public Protector received 20 626 new complaints in the past financial year, and carried over 5 603 from the previous year.

Madonsela said the number of new complaints received increased by 4 000 on the year, and the number of cases finalised by 2 000.

She said her office tried to finalise most cases within a month, in line with international standards, but had been advised by the Auditor General that the target time should be reviewed and made more realistic in view of its limited resources.

The annual report reflected that 24% of the office's targets were not met, and that this mostly related to missing the turnaround times for investigations.

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