Public Protector National Stakeholder Consultative Dialogue gets off to a good start

The third Public Protector National Stakeholder Consultative Dialogue got off to a good start on Thursday in Pretoria, with delegates generally agreeing that there were serious challenges regarding state social housing (RDP) and the conversion of panel vans into passenger transport vehicles.
The dialogue puts a spotlight 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 relating to the alleged illegal conversion of panel vans into taxis.
Participants, including Director–General of Human Settlements Thabane Zulu and the spokesperson of the South African Civics Organisation, Mr Dumisani Mthalani, among others, concurred that more needed to be done to deal with issues affecting social housing. Mr Mthalani has complained about social housing to the Public Protector on behalf of communities in Kwazulu-Natal.
President of the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) President July Msiza and General Secretary Philip Taaibos, welcomed the investigation of the Public Protector, agreeing with Mr Hennie de Beer, who has complained to the Public Protector about the illegal conversion of panel vans into taxis, that the matter posed a danger to the commuting public while undermining business operations of taxi owners. Mr Msiza pledged Santaco’s full cooperation with the Public Protector in the investigation.
Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela appreciated the fact that there was an agreement across the board that the issues on which the Dialogue focuses were important and had to be looked into.
“I am happy that there was a consensus that the issues we are focussing on are important matters that must be given prominence. I am also encouraged that there is a commitment from stakeholders to join hands with us as we aim to end maladministration and ensure responsive service delivery,” she said.
Speaking earlier to mark the beginning of the dialogue, the Public Protector said problems regarding social housing, also known as RDP housing, and panel vans that are converted into passenger transport affected the most vulnerable, downtrodden and economically underprivileged members of society.
“At this stage I have not made any findings. All these are just allegations. Ours will be to look at what happened, what should have happened, whether there was any maladministration and if so what should happen going forward,” she said.
The Public Protector said the two issues were chosen for systemic investigations and to form part of the Dialogue public hearings mainly because they affected many people across the country.
She indicated that systemic investigations were ideal for the two problems as they go beyond individuals’ complaints by probing systemic deficiencies and underlying problems in order to avoid a recurrence. A report will be produced at the end of the Dialogue process, the Public Protector said.
Some of the issues that emerged as key challenges were the sale of RDP houses and balancing the need for competent delivery of housing and achieving equity by providing opportunities to emerging contractors.
For more information, contact:
Kgalalelo Masibi
Public Protector Spokesperson
Public Protector South Africa 
079 507 0399
012 366 7006
Published Date: 
Thursday, July 12, 2012