Public Protector and Mineral Resources Deputy Minister resolve the impasse at Joe Morolong Municipality

Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela and Deputy Minister of Mining Resources Mr Godfrey Olifant met the Transport and Infrastructure Committee, Traditional Leadership of Kuruman and later the broader community on Friday, 21 September 2012 at Glenred village.
The purpose of the meeting was to seek a solution to a longstanding impasse which has resulted in a serious disruption of learning activities in about 40 schools in the area. The Committee represents among others communities from villages such as Dithakong, Cassel, Bothithong and Glenred.
For the past four months the learners have been barred from attending school by residents who are demanding construction of roads they allege had been allocated funds but were not built.
The meeting was a culmination of negotiations that have been facilitated by the Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and the Public Protector Team in separate processes.
The key issues discussed at the meeting included: getting an undertaking that the children will be going back to school on Tuesday, 25 September 2012; feedback on progress made regarding sourcing funding for the prioritised 130 kilometres of the 720 km roads that the community has been engaging government on and feedback on the Public Protector’s investigation into allegations of maladministration mainly relating to promises and IDP plans relating to the construction of the roads.
The Deputy Minister’s feedback included a report back on a commitment by Sishen Iron Ore Community Development Trust to take care with immediate effect the construction of 40 km of the130 km prioritised roads. The meeting was advised that Engineers have been appointed to undertake a feasibility study to facilitate the construction. The Deputy Minister mentioned other business commitments that are still under discussion.
As part of feedback on the negotiations with the provincial government and the affected municipalities, the Public Protector advised that government has committed itself to do everything possible to source funds from among others, business, municipal funds and conditional grant funding to realise the rolling out of the road infrastructure development. The community was advised that the provincial government will be indicating the actual commitments at the next meeting to be held on 25 September 2012.
The meeting concluded with a signed document covering the following resolutions:
  • Community leadership commits that learners will be allowed to go back to school as of Tuesday, 25 September 2012;
  • Local media be used to pronounce on school commencement on the date agreed on
  • Sishen Iron Ore Community Development Trust has committed to construct 40km of the 130km prioritised roads in the Municipality;
  • Public Protector to establish what happened to budget allocation allegedly provided for road infrastructure in the area;
  • Whether budget priorities in the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) agreed with communities was accordingly followed;
  • Complainants to provide any information that can assist the Public Protector in her investigations;
  • The Provincial Government will hold a meeting with the community on Tuesday, 25 September 2012 to indicate the provincial support to the road infrastructure project in Kuruman.

The Public Protector extends her gratitude to Deputy Minister Olifant, local traditional leaders, community leaders particularly the Transport and Infrastructure Committee for their cooperation. The Public Protector also wishes to extend her gratitude to the Provincial government and the affected municipalities for their constructive participation in the negotiations and the investigation that has commenced. The parties will meet again on Tuesday to finalise commitment regarding the 130 kms priority roads.
For more information, contact:
Kgalalelo Masibi
Public Protector South Africa 
079 507 0399
012 366 7006
0800 11 20 40
Published Date: 
Friday, September 21, 2012