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Johannesburg, South Africa Gets An Ombudsman

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: SAgov}

South Africa

Joburg appoints its first ombudsman

Pretoria – Advocate Siduduzo Gumede has been appointed as the first Ombudsman for the City of Johannesburg, and his independent office is set to open its doors to the public in July 2015.

The City of Johannesburg said the Ombudsman was appointed in line with Mayor Parks Tau’s drive for transparency, accountability and overall good governance.

“The city is confident that the establishment of the Ombudsman’s Office will ensure that there is someone who carries the conscience of the public,” said the City of Johannesburg in a statement.

It also said the appointment of Gumede is in line with the Joburg 2040 Growth and Development Strategy (2040GDS), which calls for city employees and its leadership to embrace good governance practices.

The strategy requires the organisation to be responsive, accountable, efficient and productive in the way it carries out its duties.

“Advocate Gumede’s appointment follows the approval of a municipal by-law by the City Council on 19 June 2013. This by-law defines the powers of the Ombudsman and helps establish his independence.

“It enables him to oversee all complaints related to acts of maladministration in the City of Johannesburg, including acts that infringe on the constitutional rights of citizens,” said the city.

Mayor Tau said the city wants to make sure that customers and citizens feel acknowledged through an approach that puts them first and the Office of the Ombudsman has to hold everyone in the city’s administration accountable.

As the city’s Ombudsman, Gumede will be the designated neutral facilitator of the last resort.

The city said the position of the Ombudsman is designed to provide confidential and impartial assistance in resolving grievances and disputes.

“His responsibilities also include the mediation of fair settlements between parties. Advocate Gumede will furthermore be investigating complaints of violations of human rights by the city’s administration and seek appropriate redress, while also creating awareness of human rights among the people of Johannesburg,” said the city.

Residents are urged to still make use of established city structures and exhaust these platforms before taking their concerns to the Office of the Ombudsman. -SAnews.gov.za

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