Public Protector (PP) Kholeka Gcaleka said yesterday that her office has submitted proposals to the Justice Department recommending legislative reforms to empower the institution and improve its effectiveness.

Cape Times report says Gcaleka told the Cape Town Press Club that one proposed amendment would criminalise the failure to implement remedial action prescribed in the PP’s reports.

‘We are calling for the criminalisation of the non-implementation of the PP’s remedial action. The courts, our Constitution is clear that we are not merely making recommendations but we are taking remedial actions, and that they should be implemented,’ she said.

Gcaleka also said reforms should be made for the protection of whistle-blowers as the Protected Disclosures Act gave her office power to investigate protected disclosures.

‘We don’t have power to call for protection or direct or call for legal assistance of whistle-blowers,’ she said.

Gcaleka explained that her office also proposes distinguishing between the PP as an individual and the institution itself as a juristic entity. 

She noted that the current Public Protector Act lacks clarity on whether improper conduct applies to just the office-bearer or the institution as a whole the Cape Times report said.

'The report or work produced by the PP is not a personal property of the person leading the institution, it is not (her or his) personal decisions but decisions of the institution,’ she said.

Gcaleka told her audience that public trust in her would depend on the quality and integrity of the work her office produced. 

‘Any report that I sign is actually approved through the quality assurance team which has (the) COO, CEO and executive management of the institution.

‘That mechanism remains in place to ensure checks and balances for me to take the final decision.’

According to a Cape Argus report, Gcaleka said since January, the implementation of remedial action had increased from 2% to 18%.

‘This says that something is being done from our side to show that we are being more effective.’

Full Cape Times report

Full Cape Argus report