'Chapter 9 institutions not toothless'

Government reiterated its support for Chapter 9 institutions on Monday.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Government on Monday said Chapter 9 institutions are not toothless.

These groups were formed to guard democracy by the South African Constitution.

Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Andries Nel said the proof lies in recent action taken against several high-ranking government officials.

He used the police headquarters deal and Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's pronouncements on the controversial contracts.

Late in 2011, her office revealed that the Pretoria and Durban leases were unlawful.

Madonsela's damning report also questioned suspended police commissioner Bheki Cele's conduct in the procurement processes.

In another case, the Public Protector investigated a communications contract between the Western Cape government and advertising agency TBWA/Hunt Lascaris.

The ANC called for the probe after it said proper tender procedures were not followed.

Nel said United Nations (UN) member states have praised South Africa's commitment to human rights and service delivery.

Government recently presented its report to the UN universal Peer Review Mechanism in Geneva.

The report generated several recommendations, including how to tackle racism, xenophobia, gender-based violence and how to build on HIV/Aids programmes.

The report was welcomed.

On Monday, government briefed Chapter 9 institutions on the recommendations and discussed their role in implementing the changes.