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Office of The Premier Appoints Provincial Ombudsman

Ombudsman: Province of KwaZulu-Natal
Mr. Vivani Made

HE comes across as an affable gentleman with a great sense of humour, and has had a fascinating and rather colourful career history. Meet the newly appointed Ombudsman – or ‘Ombudsperson’, as others would prefer to have the position called – in the Office of The Premier, Mr. Vivani Made.


Appointed to the newly established position at the beginning of April, Mr. Made’s primary function will be to “create a forum consisting of the Ombudspersons from the various provincial departments, because there are Ombudspersons in other departments,” he says.


The second function of the Office of the Ombudsman is the management of complaints received from the general public regarding the work performance of public servants, and service delivery issues.


He says: “If complaints are received they are to be channelled to their relevant department for resolution, then I have to follow up on that and report back to the complainant. The main intention is to ensure a satisfied citizenry.”


As he sets up office, Mr. Made still has to define what the powers of the Ombudsman are, and to achieve this he will be benchmarking against other established offices such as the Public Protector and the eThekwini Municipality’s Ombudsperson.


Born at Amanzimtoti (“just say over sixty years ago!”), he attended local schools and initially wanted to be a Catholic priest. But because of some difficulties he encountered, he switched to law because he had read Latin from the then Form 1 to matric.


“My Latin studies had something to do with my choosing the legal career. I enrolled for a BA at the University of Zululand. Fortunately, they introduced the Bachelor of Law (B Juris) degree and I then switched to it. Later they introduced the B Proc degree, which trained lawyers, and I switched to it. Unfortunately I could not complete the degree at Ongoye because of my participation in student politics in the form of SASO (South African Student Organization) and the SRC during those turbulent times,” says Mr. Made.


“I was not expelled per se, but when I came to register in 1973 I was told that I had been expelled, so I had to continue my studies with UNISA. For that I had to get a certificate of good conduct from Ongoye, and expected that it would be bad; but to my surprise it was in fact glorious. They really wanted me out of that campus!” he laughs.


“Working at M.P. Mbuli & Company as an articled clerk, we handled some political cases and worked closely with the Mxenges and other firms which dealt with similar cases,” he says. Completing the B Proc degree in 1984, Mr. Made was already registered for articles of clerkship with a firm of attorneys in Durban. He was admitted as an attorney immediately after he graduated.


“In 1985 we opened a branch of Mbuli & company at Eshowe, and one important case we dealt with was that of an Induna to the King, Induna Zondo, who was charged with terrorism for having harboured ANC cadres. He was convicted and sentenced to 5 years on Robben Island and died while serving sentence.”


In about 1980, Mr. Made began being involved with the activities of the then banned African National Congress (ANCs) underground activities. “Using Transkeian issued passports, we used to travel to Swaziland, Lusaka and Zimbabwe to be debriefed by the ANC, and as lawyers we also acted for the ANC and a few other PAC cases. I did a lot of traveling to the Swaziland border while recruiting and transporting ANC cadres at the time,” he says.


On Monday, June 2 1986 Mr. Made and his colleague the late Mr. Kwenzakwakhe Mlaba, established the firm of attorneys Mlaba Made Partners, and on the 12th of the same month a State of Emergency was declared by the erstwhile South African government. “A lot of people were detained and we had a lot of work to do. We got funding from the International Defence Aid Fund (IDAF) which was based in Britain, a body which had started during the Treason Trials of Madiba,” he says.


But back to his involvement with SASO and the Black People’s Convention (BPC). “Between 1970 and 1975 I was appointed Regional Director of the BPC and was intimately involved with the leadership of the likes of Rev. Dr. Barney Pityana and the late Steve Biko. I was subsequently detained on the 19th October 1977 and spent nine months in detention at Modderbee prison, Benoni. Again in October 1987, I was detained together with four other members of our unit under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. We were detained in 1987 and the case started only in November 1988 and was finalized in January 1989. Two of us were acquitted, and the remaining three co-accused were convicted.


Noting that the month of October seems to have been his nemesis, Mr. Made says: “The saddest day in my life was in October 1988 when I learnt while under arrest at the New Prison in Pietermaritzburg when reading the papers that my family home had been burnt down by our political rivals. That was at the height of the internecine violence that was raging throughout KwaZulu-Natal.


“Therefore when I came out of jail in January 1989 I had nowhere to stay; I became an internal refugee and was displaced. But despite that I was still working for my comrades and the ANC,” he says.


To cut a long story short, between April 2000 and January 2004 Mr. Made served as a Senior Assistant State Attorney for the Department of Justice in KZN province, which he left to take up an appointment with the eThekwini Municipality as a Senior Manager: Legislative Compliance in the Office of the Ombudsperson. “I stayed for two years then transferred to Legal Services in charge of litigation as Deputy Head.”


On his vision, Mr. Made would like to see in three years the Provincial Ombudsperson operating on par with the Public Protector. “This office should be fiercely independent so that people will have confidence in it,” he says.


A fan of the Orlando Pirates PSL team, Mr. Made likes small-scale farming as he has a “fairly large” allocation of tribal land. “Sometimes I feel I should have been a farmer as I grew up cultivating the land. In KZN I support Lamontville Golden Arrows.”


His other passions are choral music and he “time and again assists in the church choir. In my church I am a lay minister at the KwaMakhutha Catholic Parish. I also enjoy travelling and reading.”


Mr. Made is also a member of the Reserve Force of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), and holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Military Legal Division as Military Judge. He says: “I am attached to the Durban Base which covers the Mtubatuba, Mthatha and Ladysmith sub-stations, and I do get called up to preside over criminal cases involving members of the National Defence Force. I got appointed as such in order to help in the transformation of the National Defence Force.”


By Thabo Masemola

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