Public Protector calls on members of the public to help bring wrongdoers to book
Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela has appealed to members of public to work with her office to bring wrongdoers responsible for RDP fraud and corruption to book.
She was speaking at the last public hearing on RDP housing maladministration and regulatory gaps in the conversion of panel vans into minibus taxis in Saldanha Bay, Western Cape on Friday.
“Together we can get RDP, service delivery and general public sector service back on track. The key to responsive service delivery is good governance.” she said, adding that the core of good governance was a listening, responsive and transparent state.
The hearings commenced early July and called for joining hands to end maladministration and ensure good governance. They are part of a systemic investigation the Public Protector is currently conducting on RDP housing and regulatory gaps on the conversion of panel vans.
In the Western Cape, key concerns raised centred on regulatory gaps in the people’s housing projects (PHP) projects, long wait for houses particularly for older persons, many of which have been waiting since the early 90s and a few that having applied long before democracy. Size, quality, structuring of houses and illegal sale of houses mainly to foreign nationals was also noted as a major concern.
Communities alleged that there were houses that were built without cement and were falling apart. Others complained about incomplete projects that commenced years back, leaving them with letters that informed them their applications had been successful but they still had no houses.
Allegations of corruption again topped the list, with councillors and municipal employees fingered. The Deputy Mayor of Saldanha Bay municipality, Cllr Alderman Jager, conceded that some of the allegations were true and disciplinary action was being taken.
On the illegal conversion of panel vans, the Public Protector heard from the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) and other role players in the transport industry. Speakers confirmed that illegally converted panel vans had been sold and that some were still on the roads. They blamed government for poor management of the taxi recapitalisation, which they said, left many of them with enormous financial burden.
They also pointed a finger at government for regulatory failure. The Public Protector welcomed the Western Cape Legislative initiative to monitor her hearings on this and other matters.
The Public Protector has promised a further engagement with SANTACO and called for anyone affected or that has information on this to approach her office. Other transport grivieances related to the use of bakkies to transport school children. There was also a complaint that some communities were not getting scholar transport subsidies.
Other key and general service delivery complaints from communities were the issues of fishing rights, access to employment and other economic opportunities. Access to quality health services and water, with one complainant bringing a bottle of contaminated water to prove her point, were also raised as concern. Sanitation also emerged as an issue. In one settlement, the complaint was that ten families shared a toilet while others complained that they had no waterborne sanitation. There were several complaints regarding electricity, police service and access to schools. With regard to schools there was an allegation of language discrimination. The plight of disabled people also kept coming up.
The stakeholder consultative dialogue will now shift to specific interest groups, focusing mainly on political parties and other sectors, including the media. The programme will officially conclude on 12 September 2012.
Spokesperson for the Public Protector
Tel: (012) 366 7006
Cell: 079 507 0399
Friday, August 31, 2012