PP Gcaleka makes call for financial independence of her office

In her first public engagement since her appointment as the country’s new Public Protector, Kholeka Gcaleka suggested the Chapter 9 institution be funded through Parliament and not the Department of Justice.

Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka at the Cape Town Press Club on 14 November 2023. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - New Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka has called for greater independence of the Chapter 9 institution, including how it is financed.

Gcaleka suggested that the institution should be funded through Parliament, to which it accounts, rather than through the Department of Justice, which is currently the case.

She addressed the Cape Town Press Club on Tuesday, in her first public engagement since her appointment two weeks ago.

READ: Gcaleka wants non-implementation of PP’s remedial action criminalised

For the first time in its history, Gcaleka said the office was successful in tapping into the Criminal Assets Recovery Account.

This is the account into which money is paid from assets that were seized because they were the proceeds of crime.

Gcaleka said the allocation would be used to boost the skills and capacity of the Office of Public Protector.

But she said the office needed greater financial independence that's in line with international best practice.
“We cannot say that we will never see undue influence, but we must actually look at the direction in which our democracy is headed to and say there is a risk, and, as a result, we need to mitigate that particular risk.”

Gcaleka said a change in the funding model is among several proposals already submitted to the Department of Justice to amend the Public Protector Act in the new parliamentary year.

The office also wants to make it explicit in law that its remedial actions are binding, as ruled by the Constitutional Court in 2016.