Public Protector appeals for time bound RDP Housing Corrective Action in Kwazulu-Natal
During her meeting with the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Legislature on Thursday 04 October 2012, Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela urged the KZN Legislature and members of the executive to ensure that time specific action plans are immediately developed and implemented to rectify service failure matters where they concede wrong doing. She specifically pleaded with the MEC for Human Settlements to ensure that a time specific plan is formulated in response to the plight of the Msunduzi Human Settlement whose homes remain in complete more that 15 months since the Public Protector got involved a few years ago since the original defective homes were demolished. She also pleaded for a quick response to the plight of mainly all persons that are still on the waiting list since applying for RDP housing in 1996. The other group she requested to be given priority are those that were provided with toilets and geysers.
The meeting which was Chaired by Honorable L F Shabalala and attended by the majority members of the Legislature, the Deputy Speaker and a few members of the Provincial Executive Committee took place at the provincial legislature in Pietermaritzburg. The meeting was part of the Public Protector Stakeholders Consultative Dialogue which took place in July and August 2012 and had been rescheduled due to inability to reconcile schedules. After providing an overview on the mandate of the office and the approach to the mandate the Public Protector briefed the Legislature on the key complaints lodged with her during the public hearings that formed part of the 2012 Stakeholder Dialogue. She divided the complaints into those relating to the RDP Housing systemic investigation; those relating to the systemic investigation on the alleged Illegal conversion of panel vans and those relating to the general service failure impacting on groups and communities.
Key RDP Housing issues that Public Protector brought to the attention of the house included the following:
- Alleged Planning deficiencies such as failure to match the provision of housing with basic infrastructure such as sanitation, water, electricity access roads and social amenities such as schools, hospitals and policing services.
- Alleged housing procurement deficiencies such as failure to secure viable delivery guarantees from contractors leading to the state having to shoulder the burden, paying for the rectification of shoddy work, and project management deficiencies that have led to incomplete projects without finances for project completion.
- Alleged allocation irregularities the key being long waits particularly for older persons, some of whom have been waiting since the commencement of the RDP programme in 1996; double allocations; alleged improper involvement by councilors in allocations and plight of child headed households.
- Alleged post allocation challenges which include failure to provide title deeds; and houses said to be falling apart without recourse for owners and rectification expenditure.
- General problems most of which relate to alleged illegal sales and allocations of RDP or occupation of RDP houses. Key concerns highlighted by the Public Protector regarding alleged illegal conversion of panel vans mainly related to the plight of taxi owners, commuters and original manufactures.
Key concerns highlighted by the Public Protector regarding general service delivery to communities centred on the actualization of the concept of human settlements including infrastructural considerations in this regard, alleged health service deficiencies, including ambulances, medicines and professional services, police services, access to schools and general development challenges particularly those relating to rural under development.
The provincial legislature engaged the Public Protector through questions and comments on her work. Many of the comments related to appreciation of the work of the Public Protector and the constitutional significance of the office. A few concerns were expressed about the need to avoid politicization of the office. The Legislature also called against duplication of investigation by oversight bodies. Speaking at the end of the meeting, the Public Protector expressed gratitude to the Provincial Legislature stating that the meeting had been extremely fruitful. The Legislature expressed the need for future and more frequent interactions.
For more information, contact:
Executive Manager: Outreach Education and Communication
Public Protector South Africa
Cell: 083 4944 074
Tel: 012 366 7059
0800 11 20 40
Thursday, October 4, 2012