Ombudsman can intervene: lawyers

The Public Protector, popularly known as the Ombudsman, can intervene in order to bring justice to land allocation cases, officials have said.

Public lawyers said they had assisted some complainants who felt that they were unfairly denied the opportunity to benefit from the land reform programme.

“For the record, we assisted an interested farmer to be allocated an alternative farm in Karoi. For instance, people with names publicised in the media in early 2000 can approach our offices for assistance if they did not benefit from the land reform programme.

“When approaching our offices for instance, one should bring evidence of the particular newspaper cutting as confirmation for the short-listing regarding the land dispute. Since the responsible ministry was an arm of government, the Public Protector has the mandate to solve the dispute,” said an official in Marondera recently.

The official said the Public Protector’s Office was mandated to ensure that the government operated properly as expected by the people.

“We would investigate any matter concerning anything that happened in government, Parastatals and Local Authorities. The office, however, does not take matters to court, but solves problems through out of court settlements or internally”.

The Public Protector’s office deals with disputes such as inheritance-related issues, War Victims compensation, War Veteran issues, social welfare issues, non-investigation by the police of reported criminal cases, non-payment/non processing of pension, non-payment/cessation of salary, unlawful dismissal/discharge, non processing of forms, unprocedural conduct by local authorities, non-payment/non-processing of NASSA claims and Passport/Birth Certificates issues.

The Public Protector will be opening branches at various districts in the near future in order to increase accessibility to their services. At present the Public Protector has offices in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare.

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