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    Public Service Month Qwa Qwa; On a quest to bring services closer to the community by presenting the action plan of 2023 vision which is the catalyst that seeks to empower, educate and encourage local government to serve the public. The Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane alongside the Provincial PPSA together with the Acting Executive Mayor of Maluti a Phofung (MAP) Cllr Mary Crockett, MMC’s, Councillors and Administrator Moses Moremi embarked on the National Roadshow on Thursday the 13th of September 2018 at Phuthaditjhaba Multipurpose Hall.

    The campaign was part of Mkhwebane’s approach as she vowed to engage with local government and local stakeholders to reach out to the communities such as representatives of the provincial government‚ municipalities‚ traditional authorities and civil society organisations on the importance of addressing service and conduct failure complaints at municipal or departmental level before the grievances could be submitted to her. She stated “we encourage all our organs of the state to establish their own effective complaints resolution units or sector-specific Ombudsman institutions such as Health and Military. We also empower our people to become their own liberators, who see themselves as Public Protector in their own right”. Having started her Roadshow in Mpumalanga last month, Mkhwebane specified the significance of the office’s mandate in terms of bringing services to the community, accentuated with this year’s theme: “Towards redress and a public sector that puts people first” as she further indicated that the office is the stronghold for the underprivileged and the marginalised that not every complaint that is logged needed to be brought to the institution.

    Acting Executive Mayor Cllr Mary Crockett said the municipality supports the national government and the initiative of the Public Protector’s office as they want to run a clean municipality free from corruption. “We urge our people to report any government wrongdoing or any suspicious behaviour by public servants to the Public Protector’s Office so that we can be able to root out corruption within our municipality”,she stated as she applauded Advocate Mkhwebane’s plans to establish internal complaints resolution units through all municipalities whereby complainants can register their grievances.

    Lehlohonolo Manama from the Provincial PPSA Office said most of the concerns they received are classified in to three categories mainly, (i) delayed pension’s pay-outs, wrong allocation of RDP houses, (ii) water and electricity bills, (iii) tender irregularities and government maladministration. “This is precisely why it is critical for organs of state to establish effective complaints resolution units‚ customer service units or sector-specific ombudsman institutions in the mould of the health‚ tax and military ombudsman‚” he enlightened.

    According to Manama, Free State province received more than one thousand complaints and out of that, only three hundred of them were finalised based on the workload per case but urged the community to continue writing to the institution if they have suspicions or evidence that government funds are being misused. She completed her roadshow with a visit to Maluti TVET College students at Bonamelo Campus Hall.

    By: Malakwane Masilo