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DGRU note on the Public Protector

7 Jul 2011 - 17:34

The allegations against the Public Protector are that companies owned by her were paid money by the South African Law Reform Commission while she was a full-time commissioner on the Law Commission. In this note, we briefly examine the regulatory framework governing members of the Law Commission.

The Law Commission is established and regulated by the South African Law Reform Commission Act 19 of 1973 (as amended). It is striking that the Act contains no provisions expressly governing the conduct or disclosure of interests by the members of the commissioners, and thus no provisions expressly criminalise any failure to disclose interests.

The Act empowers the Commission to draw up programs listing matters that it thinks require attention, but these must be submitted to the Minister for approval (s 5(1)).

A report on all the Commission's activities within a financial year must be submitted to the Minister of Justice within 5 months of the end of each financial year, and then tabled in Parliament (S 7(2)).

The Act provides for the payment of remuneration and allowances to commissioners (s 9).

Whilst this note does not attempt deal with the substantive aspects of the allegations against the Public Protector, if it is correct that she disclosed her connection to her company to the Commission, one would expect that this information would have been included in the Commission