Public Protector calls on communities to use constitutional structures and processes before resorting to protest marches

Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela has called on communities to use constitutional structures before resorting to protest marches.

She also appealed to public office bearers to improve on accountability and communication with communities to avert unnecessary protests.

She was speaking to communities in Matibidi near Graskop in Mpumalanga during an outreach event as part of the Public Protector National Stakeholder Dialogue on Wednesday.

“As a woman, it hurts me every time people take to streets because this results in people getting hurt and the destruction of people’s property and the limited public infrastructure that the country has,” she said.

The Public Protector heard that corruption and fraud in the procurement and allocation of RDP houses was the main problem in the Thaba Chweu municipality. Complainants alleged that people were allocated houses which did not even exist but the municipality database suggested they had received the houses. In Ward 9B at Moramela houses had been built but were left incomplete and contractors had been fully paid.

One group complained that they had been allocated houses but their houses were awarded to those close to councillors. They alleged that councillors were involved in the allocation of houses while community development workers were pushed out and councillors prioritised their people many of whom didn’t apply therefore didn’t qualify to get houses.

The communities of Thaba Chweu municipality also complained to the Public Protector about long waiting queues and structural defects in their houses. They said the municipality was not transparent on the lists as some people got houses despite applying late while those who had applied earlier didn’t receive the houses.

Communities also alleged that there is a deviation from the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) contents by the municipality. They said the municipality introduced contractors at the beginning of projects but did not inform community leaders and handover projects to the community when contractors left or when projects had problems.

Other complaints related to lack of medicine in local health centres where people with chronic medical conditions are usually turned away due to the unavailability of medicines.

Access to roads, water and electricity also came out as thorny issues for communities of the Thaba Chweu. They alleged that their roads are in a very bad state and caused children to miss school during rainy days. The complaint about lack of access to water is that is some cases close to 60 families shared a single tap.

Community members also expressed dissatisfaction with regards to the street lights project. They said the lights have been erected only at certain areas and the deep rural areas have been neglected. They allege that the lights do not serve the purpose of protecting them against criminals.

A group of farmers complained that the municipality had halted their farming project. They alleged that the municipality promised to assist after they were awarded 10 tractors. But the involvement of the municipality stalled the project and that resulted in them not ploughing last year.

Responding to the complaints and allegations, the Public Protector told the communities that at the end of the process, her office will facilitate an agreed action plan between all relevant role players in the issues raised.

The municipality assured the Public Protector that they will be responding to the complaints in September as they have received budget allocations to address them.

The Public Protector will wrap up her visit by commemorating Women’s Month in Carolina on Thursday.

Issued by:

Kgalalelo Masibi
Spokesperson for the Public Protector
Tel: (012) 366 7006
Cell: 079 507 0399

Published Date: 
Wednesday, August 22, 2012