Public Protector wants government dismissal cases audited
Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela plans to have the government audit the manner in which it handles dismissal cases, she said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the end of her visit to Trompsburg in the Free State, the Public Protector said she would approach the Public Service and Administration Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, in this regard.
Her remarks followed several complaints about dismissal cases that were allegedly prolonged unnecessarily after the complainants had won their cases at the bargaining councils, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration and even the Labour Court.
Complainants claimed that some of the cases were not worth pursuing and plunged them into poverty.
During a meeting at Madikgetla community hall, some locals alleged that lawyers employed by the state were dragging the cases on purpose in order to benefit more.
“If, for two or three years, government plays hide and seek with your dismissal,” said the Public Protector, “it becomes a poverty issue.”
“You can’t claim your savings from the pension fund and you can’t be employed because you are in limbo,” she said, adding that she would engage government to expedite the process if the claims were true.
Regarding health matters, community members reported a number of complaints against Edenburg clinic.
These included alleged disregard for the privacy of patients that were on HIV treatment. Up to three people alleged that the contents of their medical files were open secrets in the community.
Other complaints against the clinic included alleged rudeness of staff, lack of medical supplies. More complaints about delays related to ambulance services were registered.
The state of affairs at the clinic were, however, in stark contrast to its Madikgetla counterpart, Mamello clinic, where the Public Protector visited unannounced earlier in the day.
Although the clinic had its own share of problems such as occasional shortages of medical supplies, aging equipment, disappearing files and long waiting periods, the situation was not as dire as at other facilities visited by the Public Protector over the past few weeks.
Patients at the facility told the Public Protector that they were sometimes told to come back the next day for medicine or sent to Jagersfontein hospital, which is located nearly 40km away.
The majority of the patients that the Public Protector spoke to were, however, happy with the level of services. Servicing a community of less than 6000 people, with a daily intake of 80 to 90 patients, the clinic’s staff was not as overwhelmed as other facilities elsewhere in the country.
Back at the local hall, community members brought to the Public Protector’s attention, other service delivery and maladministration matters.
These included RDP housing, electricity, sanitation and sewerage problems. Others bemoaned poor water supply, something that was conceded by authorities, who reported that a multi-pronged approach was being embarked upon to tackle the issue.
Furthermore, allegations of corruption in respect of tenders, nepotism, poor supervision of contractors, unfinished construction of a community hall and shoddily-built RDP houses were leveled against local authorities.
The Public Protector said she would follow up all the cases, working closely with competent organs of state and investigate all the complex matters.
Together with her deputy, Adv. Kevin Malunga, the Public Protector is in the province until Thursday as part of her office’s National Stakeholder Dialogue.
The dialogue focuses on strengthening government's ability to deliver on the Millennium Development Goals, placing special emphasis on improving healthcare services and eradicating poverty.
On Wednesday, the Public Protector will interact with health sector stakeholders at Raadsaal in Bloemfontein before reporting her observations to the Provincial Legislature on Thursday.
She will visit the National Public Hospital and the MUCCP Clinic on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Both the visits will take place at 07:30. Journalists are requested not to communicate these specific details ahead of the activities as the visits are meant to be a surprise.
For more information, contact:
Public Protector South Africa
012 366 7006
079 507 0399
0800 11 20 40