Publication: Sunday Times Issued: Date: 2004-10-24 Reporter: Dominic Mahlangu

Public Protector to Go On the Offensive



Sunday Times

Date 2004-10-24


Dominic Mahlangu

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Public Protector Lawrence Mushwana has set up a special investigations unit that he hopes will raise the profile of his office.

Mushwana said this week that the unit would deal with cases involving high-profile individuals and complicated complaints.

"I will take charge of the unit. It will be under my control and will only deal with those cases that require special attention."

Mushwana said the unit was needed because of the increase in high-profile cases his office had to deal with. These included the complaint lodged by Deputy President Jacob Zuma against the former National Director of Public Prosecutions, Bulelani Ngcuka, and the investigation of Gauteng Education MEC Angie Motshekga, alleged to have used her influence to benefit an empowerment trust her husband was involved with.

The unit would also assist in clearing a backlog of cases some of which had been with his office for more than a year.

"With about 21000 complaints already in our hands there is a need to streamline our operations," he said.

While many see the Public Protector as having an overseeing function, Mushwana said that he believed there was a bigger role for his office to play: "We need to be seen by the public to be doing something. That is why I will be at the forefront in some of the cases."

With acknowledgements to Dominic Mahlangu and the Sunday Times.