Deputy Public Protector meets traditional authorities, wraps up Good Governance Week
Deputy Public Protector Adv. Kevin Malunga has assured the Bakgatlha Ba Mosetlha royal family in Makapanstad, North West, that their grievances will be brought to the attention of government.
Adv. Malunga met with the royal family on Friday as his office wound up the annual Good Governance Week, a five-year-old initiative that seeks to shine a spotlight on the importance of clean governance in state affairs.
At the meeting, Kgosi Nchaupe Makapan, who spoke through a mouthpiece as he was yet to be enthroned, levelled a number of allegations against the Moretele Local Municipality, requesting Adv. Malunga to intervene.
Among the allegations were that some municipal officials enabled an illegal occupation of traditional land, which has seen an informal settlement sprouting in Swartdam village. The village is one of 32 that fall under Makapanstad in the area.
Kgosi Makapan told Adv. Malunga that his efforts to stop the alleged illegal land occupation did not yield the desired results as police referred him to the courts, saying the case was a civil matter. The traditional authority did not have the financial muscle to go the court route.
He alleged that the municipality treated the traditional authority with disdain, allowing business to erect offices inside the royal graveyard. The municipality also mined sand and used the resource for construction projects, without any benefits for the traditional community. Kgosi Makapan also alleged that the municipality allowed for the harvesting of wood from his area of authority without any benefits for his community.
In addition to grievances against the municipality, Kgosi Makapan lodged complaints against other organs of state. These included a dispute involving the provincial Department of Public Works, relating to Bophuthatswana-built properties in Makapanstad, which he said ought to be generating rental revenue for his community as allegedly stipulated in lease agreements signed between the traditional community and the erstwhile homeland. His community is currently not receiving any rental from businesses occupying the properties.
Kgosi Makapan complained about what he termed the “deterioration” of healthcare services in the area, with clinics allegedly being closed down and the few that remained operating on skeleton staff and open for service until 19H00 daily.
Water shortages, which Kgosi Makapan described as a historical problem, also came up as a big challenge facing the Makapanstad community. He said villagers that had the means were forced to fork out up to R30 000 to drill boreholes, leaving those that could not afford the wells to drink from the river.
Turning to land issues, Kgosi Makapan accused the local Communal Property Association (CPA) of selling some farms belonging to the community for R26 million without consultation. This followed the acquisition of a vast piece of land as part of the restitution programme.
Kgosi Makapan claimed that the CPA spent the proceeds made from the sales without accounting to anyone. Despite being in office for 7 years, he said, the CPA had neither held an annual general meeting nor reported on its operations.
Kgosi Makapan further alleged that some officials, seconded from the provincial department of Traditional Affairs, embezzled community funds. The department informed him that it could not conduct an audit and the traditional authority should conduct a self-audit, he said. The extent of the theft remains unknown.
Responding to the complaints, Adv. Malunga said all of the grievances Kgosi Makapan registered with his office fell within the Public Protector’s jurisdiction and that the matters would be looked into.
He said his office was in the area to inform the traditional authorities about its mandate, listen to their challenges and ensure that they were brought to the attention of relevant government departments.
For more information, contact:
Ms Kgalalelo Masibi
Spokesperson: Public Protector South Africa
012 366 7006
079 507 0399