Public Protector shocked by lack of national outrage on bribery and price inflation revelation
Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela is shocked by a lack of national outrage on bribery and price inflation revelation done by some contractors who have done and continue to do business with organs state.
The Public Protector said this on Thursday when interacting with interests groups in Cape Town. Her remarks came after a group of business people admitted in a story ran by a national daily that they have paid bribes and at times inflated prices when doing business with organs of state.
“Maladministration was stealing a constitutional promise of a better life for all,” she said.
The Stakeholder Consultative Dialogue meeting in the Mother City was a part of her office’s nationwide roadshow which focuses on problems surrounding RDP houses and the alleged illegal conversion of panel vans into taxis.
It followed the Public Protector’s meeting with members of the provincial executive council chaired by the Premier Helen Zille on Wednesday where she heard about housing challenges in the province. Key RDP houses issues that dominated discussions revolved around long waits for RDP houses, allocation problems where one person said he had been on the waiting list since 1962 when council houses were issued for rental, irregular management of Provincial Housing Programme (PHP) with complaints centred mainly around irregular approvals, discrimination in allocation of houses with lists manipulated by councillors and defective houses. There were also allegations of corruption, choice of construction service providers and problems with prioritisation of housing projects also featured significantly.
The plight of farm dwellers featured strongly with allegations that people in informal settlements appeared to be given priority over backyard dweller irrespective of the time they have been on the waiting lists. People living with disability also raised a number of complaints including house that are not accessible, toilets that are not disable friendly, lack of welfare, health care, disable facilities in courts including professionally trained and certified sign language interpreters.
On the question of illegal conversion of panel vans, the Public Protector heard from South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) Western Cape that indeed in illegally converted panel vans endangered commuters’ lives where seats and seatbelt were bolted on thin floors with side not fitted with rollover protection. They advised of the need for public education on panel vans. The complainants also spoke of lose of income and blamed government for regulatory failure. MEC of Transport and Public Works in the Western Cape Mr Carlisle reported that in the province, they have managed to get rid of most converted taxis and the Provincial Legislature had appointed a committee to investigate this conversion.
Community representatives also complained about lack of access to health care and raised issues about bad conduct of some health officials, inadequacy of medical supplies and ambulances not arriving on time to attend to patients.
They also complained about social development, schools, sanitation and arrogance by some government officials.
The City of Cape Town through Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille expressed appreciation of the Public Protector’s interest on housing problems in the country and called for all complaints to be forwarded to the city to be attended to.
The Public Protector will by end of next month issue a report on the issues people raised and her observations with a view to give affected municipalities and government departments opportunity to immediately address urgent issues while she investigates complex issues. She reiterated her call upon municipalities to improve communications with the people.
The Public Protector will conclude the public hearings during an outreach event at Diazville Community Centre in Saldanha Bay on Friday.
Spokesperson for the Public Protector
Tel: (012) 366 7006
Cell: 079 507 0399
Thursday, August 30, 2012