REMARKS BY THE CITY OF JOHANNESBURG EXECUTIVE MAYOR, CLLR. MPHO PARKS TAU, UPON THE OPENING OF THE JOHANNESBURG OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN AT THE ISLE OF HOUGHTON, HOUGHTON ESTATE, ON WEDNESDAY, 01 JULY 2015
Speaker of Council, Clr Connie Bapela
Members of the Mayoral Committee
City Manager, Mr Trevor Fowler
Ombudsman, Advocate Siduduzo Gumede
City Officials present here today
Members of the Media
Ladies and gentlemen
Today marks a remarkable day for the citizens of the City of Johannesburg.
We are gathered here to officially open the much anticipated Office of the Ombudsman. This office has been designed to give effect to the city of Johannesburgâ€™s commitment to establish an independent advocate to investigate residentâ€™s claims of maladministration and facilitate redress.
Todayâ€™s launch follows the Cityâ€™s public announcement on the 1st of April, of the appointment of Advocate Siduduzo Gumede as the Cityâ€™s first Ombudsman.
Advocate Gumedeâ€™s appointment comes after the Johannesburg Council approved a by-law in 2013 which was gazetted in 2014, paving the way for the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman.
Office of the Ombudsman in context
The establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman is in line with the Joburg 2040 Growth and Development Strategy which clearly defines the type of developmental progress the City aspires to.
This 2040 GDS strategy calls for all city employees, including its leadership to embrace good governance practices and instill a standard culture of transparency, productivity, responsiveness, efficiency and accountability – all in the spirit of Batho Pele.
The new Office of the Ombudsman is an institution of the metropolitan municipality, accountable to the Johannesburg Council and subject to the provisions of the Cityâ€™s by-law.
The Office of the Ombudsman is expected to:
- be impartial and exercise its powers, duties and functions without fear, favour or prejudice;
- operate with independence, credibility, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness;
- be accountable to Council through quarterly reports on its activities.
Furthermore the Council, its political structures and the administration are currently offering ongoing support to the new Office of the Ombudsman to ensure its independence, credibility, influence, impartiality, dignity and effectiveness.
However, all these stakeholders are not to interfere with the functioning and independence of the Office of the Ombudsman as it opens its doors today.
Office of the Ombudsman core objectives
The objective of the Office of the Ombudsman is to ensure that all complaints relating to alleged acts of maladministration are investigated and dealt with in a fair, transparent and efficient manner.
The Office will also ensure that the City provides efficient and courteous service to its citizens and that they are treated with dignity, honesty and integrity at all times.
Furthermore the Ombudsman will assist in preserving and promoting compliance with all resolutions, policies and by-laws that govern the municipality-detailing directly or indirectly the services rendered to the people of Johannesburg â€“ in that way ensuring that citizensâ€™ rights are protected.
As we officially open these offices today, may I appeal to the people of Johannesburg that we all support and assist the Office of the Ombudsman in building a transparent and accountable world class African city.