Public Protector meets with Premier
Magashule and his executive
Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela on Tuesday held a
frank and fruitful meeting with Free State Premier, Ace
Magashule, who was accompanied by the Deputy Speaker of the
Provincial Legislature, MECs, Mayors, several Municipal
Speakers and most heads of provincial departments.
The closed meeting was part of the National Public Protector
Stakeholder Consultative Dialogue, which focuses on the need
to work together to end maladministration and ensure
responsive service delivery, with special focus on problems
plaguing RDP housing and regulatory gaps regarding alleged
illegal conversion of panel vans into taxis.
During the meeting, the Public Protector briefed the
provincial leadership on service delivery concerns raised by
community members during a stakeholder meeting on Monday and
her subsequent visit to Botshabela and the Bloemfontein Taxi
Rank on the same day.
Some of the allegations made by community members on Monday
were that the provincial government was awarding tenders and
using resources on the basis of political allegiance, and
that officials were being suspended for refusing to follow
instructions that contracts be awarded unlawfully and
There was also a case of a deceased RDP housing grandmother
whose immediate family -of six- was living in a one room
shack and still waiting for the delivery of their house.
Other complaints included the RDP and infrastructure
development aspects of Operation Hlasela, long waiting
lists, unmet promises, houses without toilets, incomplete
housing projects , houses that were inaccessible to the
disabled, a taxi rank that was allegedly not built according
to the specifications at the cost of R400m and matters
related to taxis.
While Premier Magashule and his team denied any wrong doing,
there was a frank admission that there were several
weaknesses in the delivery of RDP houses, procurement
systems and financial management. Skills gaps, particularly
in small municipalities were also identified as key
impediments to a responsive service delivery.
Premier Magashule and his team also drew the attention of
the Public Protector to challenges they said were inherited
from their predecessors, including incomplete houses,
fraudulent letters purported to be from “happy” RDP housing
beneficiaries, bulk infrastructure supply problems, tempered
RDP housing application lists and land shortage.
They also decried the backlash they were facing when
exacting accountability from staff and contractors alleged
to be responsible for wrongs such as tender irregularities
and fraudulent approvals of payment for shoddy and
In response, the Public Protector thanked the provincial
leadership for sharing their views, indicating that their
explanations would be integrated with everything else that
would be discovered during investigation processes.
“We are particularly encouraged by the fact it would appear
that a lot of the problems that people are raising are
already on the radar of the leadership of the province and
there are attempts to resolve those problems,” she said.
The Public Protector also made a request to the leadership
of the province to exercise openness and transparency on
responses to the investigations, a plea to which there was a
commitment to cooperate from the side of the provincial
leadership. She told the meeting that her office would also
appreciate getting the answers speedily so as to allow the
investigations to be concluded expeditiously.
Meanwhile the Public Protector also raised concerns with
Premier Magashule about community members, in Botshabela,
who seemed to think they needed to be members of the ruling
party in order to receive her office’s services.
This came after some community members, who sought an
audience with the Public Protector during her inspection of
RDP projects in the area on Monday, came clad in ruling
party apparel, presenting their membership cards for her
“It worried me that they thought, to be able to be served by
the Public Protector, they needed to show us that they are
linked to a particular party. What gives them that
impression, to think they have to convince and prove to us
that they belong to a particular structure.” she said.
The Public Protector also raised issues about two elderly
women, who had alleged that they were denied food parcels
and blankets on the basis that they were not members of the
ruling party. The provincial leadership denied any knowledge
of that but undertook to establish what happened, with a
view to ensure that the two women also got the benefits.
The Dialogue proceeds to Mphohadi FET College (Constantia
Hall no longer the venue) in Kroonstad on Wednesday, where
the Public Protector will interface with ordinary members of
the public before heading for North West on Thursday and
For more information, contact:
Public Protector South Africa
079 507 0399
012 366 7006
0800 11 20 40