n Stellenbosch Law Review = Stellenbosch Regstydskrif - An overview of the principle of the "independence" of the Ombudsman in South Africa and Namibia




The efficacy of the institution of the Ombudsman has been a subject of debate since its establishment which is traced back to Sweden in 1809. These debates are related to the ability of the institution to maintain its independence in the quest for the promotion of good governance and accountability in the regulation of state authority. In this regard, this article provides a succinct overview of the theoretical framework of the principle of "independence" of the institution of the public-service Ombudsman, in facilitating the advancement of the principles of good governance in two Southern African countries: Namibia and South Africa. The purpose of selecting these two countries is not motivated by the fact that they both have established the institution of the Ombudsman per se - but rather because they share a similar history in the regulation of state authority. Namibia - formerly known as South West Africa - was under the authority of South Africa from 1915 until its independence in 1990. In turn, South Africa exercised such authority and attained its own independence in 1994. The objective of the article is to determine the various factors that may have the potential to compromise the principle of the "independence" of the institution. This is limited to examination of the principle of "independence" and not other procedural or substantive issues that may have to be addressed by the institution.


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