The South African Constitution and The National Public Protector

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This essay will look at the role of the institution of the National Public Protector (NPP) as enshrined in Chapter 9 of the South African Constitution with respect to constitutional democracy. Additionally, an analysis of the powers, duties and it’s (the NPP) institutional relationship with the other chapter 9 institutions.
The protection for constitutional democracy is borne out of answering a question dating back to the Roman Empire: “Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?” which translated means “who protects the rights and interests of the individual against possible abuse by persons in public office?” During party negotiations for a new constitution it was recognized that parties would have to agree on establishing institutions with the
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One of those institutions is the office of the Public Protector.” Two further important pieces of legislation regulate the operation of the NPP, namely the Public Protector Act which validates the investigating powers of the NPP and the Executive Members’ Act which empowers the NPP to investigate all allegations of violations of the Act and Code by the members of the executive. These acts make the mandate of the NPP one of the most general amongst the other Chapter 9 institutions.
The case highlighted two most crucial interpretations regarding the mandate of the NPP. First it provided: “the function of the Public Protector is as much about public confidence that the truth has been discovered as it is about discovering the truth.” Secondly it highlighted the importance of the NPP insofar as “it provides what will often be a last defence against bureaucratic oppression, and against destroying the nation. If the institution falters or finds itself undermined the nation loses an indispensable constitutional guarantee.” It can be conferred from this that the NPP’s independence is foundational as a determining factor for its ability to ensure the guaranteed impartiality and actions taken without fear, favour or prejudice.
The nature of the mandate of the NPP relies on the independence of the institution as a

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