Contact the Public Protector

The Public Protector’s Office (PPO) is an independent watchdog agency established under Chapter 9 of the Constitution. It has the power to investigate any impropriety (wrongdoing) in any sphere of government, including local government and report on this publicly. Improprieties of public officers include abuse, discourteous or improper conduct, undue delay, and dishonesty with public funds, unlawful enrichment and other forms of poor administration.

If you are going to make a complaint it must be within two years of the problem arising, although the PPO can extend this period in exceptional circumstances. Not every allegation results in an investigation. The PPO has the legal discretion, or right, to choose when to take action.

In addition to investigating improper action by government, the Public Protector acts:

  • as mediator of requests under PAIA
  • as investigator/mediator/dispute resolution counsellor under the Protected Disclosure Act.

The Public Protector has wide investigative powers including the power to order witnesses to testify under oath or to produce any document and to search and seize property under a warrant. Failure to comply with the PPO is a criminal offence.

The PPO may offer to mediate, conciliate, negotiate a resolution, or investigate and publicise its findings, as well as recommend that criminal charges be laid.