Public Protector asked to address water, land restitution and youth unemployment in Carolina
The Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela was asked by Carolina residents to intervene to ensure that outstanding issues involving water contamination, land restitution dysfunctionality and youth unemployment are addressed by the Chief Albert Luthuli Municipality and the Mpumalanga government.
Acknowledging that the bulk of the water contamination problem had been addressed, residents wanted answers on the accountability of the mining houses that had caused the problem. They complained that it appeared that no one had been arrested or fined for putting people’s lives in danger by violating environmental laws.
A new water contamination complaint was lodged by a resident who claimed that her livestock was dying from waste spillage from the municipality’s waste treatment plant adjacent to her farm. He alleged that she had already lost R60 000.00 worth of livestock due to the livestock drinking contaminated water in the Boemanspruit.
The bulk of the complaints related to RDP housing with issues including waiting for a house, irregular allocations, shoddily built houses that were allegedly falling apart allegedly due to faulty foundations, toilets that are also said to be falling apart and the irregular reassignment of ownership of houses by municipal officers.
The highest number of complaints was about the dysfunctionality of the land claims processes, including land already allocated. Specific allegations included claims that land successfully claimed by communities was high jacked by government officials for themselves and others. Community Property Association Committees also came under fire for lack of accountability and self-enrichment leaving communities with no benefits other than their names being included on the ownership list. An old lady alleged that government was saying they should apply new whereas their claim on a farm was gazette as a successful claim in 2005.
Residents of Carolina and surrounding areas also asked the Public Protector to intervene on youth unemployment, which they said was exacerbated by the fact that mines in the area do not employ locals or honour their social contract plans. Mines also came under fire for violating their license conditions and mining too close to people’s houses.
The other service delivery complaints relate to allegations of:
Poor water quality and supply
Marginalisation of disabled people in the allocation of RDP houses
Maintenance company that costs the municipality R70 000 for the electricity that is underutilized and costly to ratepayers
Municipal employees and other public servants doing business with government and not disclosing
Conduct and attitude of municipal employees
Corruption in the awarding of tenders
Exploitation of farm workers and failure to act by the Department of Labour
SASSA grants and Home Affairs
Lack of scholar transport for farm children
Undue delay in the processing of land claims
Regarding health issues residents complained about the inadequate capacity at Carolina Hospital to cater for the population. There other issue raised was that there is no ambulance in the area.
Senior citizens complained of high municipal rates and taxes bills and the Public Protector. The Mayor undertook to adjudicate their cases in terms of the indigent policy of the Municipality. The Public Protector requested the Mayor to submit an action plan on all issues affecting Municipality. The Public Protector undertook to discuss the RDP complaints with the MEC for Human Settlements and the other complaints transcending the municipality’s remit with the Provincial Executive and Legislature during her meeting with them on Thursday 10 October 2013.
Spokesperson for the Public Protector
Tel: (012) 366 7069
Fax: 0866 261 143
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