Public Protector releases Dipaleseng, Segabutla reports

Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela’s investigation into allegations of maladministration and poor governance at Dipaleseng Local Municipality in Mpumalanga has revealed a lot of promising improvements on most of complaints leveled against the municipality.
Titled Glimmer of Hope, the report, released on Wednesday during a media briefing at the Dipaleseng municipal chambers, details a number of achievement registered as a result of interventions made while the 18-month-long investigation was underway.
These include the completion of and construction of new houses, repairs to the R51 road between Balfour and Grootvlei, the opening of a new taxi rank and plans to build a new police station in Siyathemba. The Disaster Management Centre is also now operational.
The investigation followed violent protests in the area two years ago, which saw angry residents burning down a local library and a municipal office and barricading access roads with burning tyres in an apparent frustration over poor delivery of services by the municipality.
Complaints included the incomplete construction of houses, houses without toilets, houses without title deeds, stealing of electricity, the upgrading of a school, a lack of debt and revenue management by the Municipality, a lack of planning and the absence of a Police Station in Siyathemba.
The incorporation of Balfour into Gauteng was another major subject of frustration, as was the alleged failure on the part of the Mpumalanga Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport to maintain public roads in the Balfour area.
While taking note of the positive developments that have been realised in the area over the last 24 months, the report has also revealed several acts of maladministration.
Among other things, the Public Protector found that the municipality had failed to comply fully with the Credit Control Policy in respect of the recovery of debts and revenue and that this amounted to maladministration.
The failure of the municipality to comply with the requirements of the Municipal Systems Act in respect of the preparation and implementation of its Integrated Development Plan also amounted to maladministration, the Public Protector said.
The failure by the Municipal Manager to report his knowledge and/or suspicion of credit note fraud amounting to approximately R1.5 million by official of the municipality to the SAPS was unlawful and constituted improper conduct and maladministration, she said.
With regards to the remedial action in terms of the section 182 (1)(c) of the Constitution, the Public Protector called on the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Madala Masuku, to assess the support required by municipality to strengthen its capacity to manage its IDP and financial affairs within 30 days from the day the report is released.
The Executive Mayor Councillor Nhlapho was asked to take urgent steps to ensure that the Municipal Manager reports to the council on the complaints received by the municipality and the manner in which they were resolved.
The Municipal Manager was urged to, among other things, liaise with the provincial Human Settlements department for the handing over of title deeds to the beneficiaries of houses in Siyathemba within 30 days from the date of the report.
Responding to the report, the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Richard Baloyi and MEC Masuku, who attended the briefing, accepted the report as is and undertook to produce an implementation action plan within 48 hours.
Public Protector SA Chief Executive Officer, Themba Mthethwa, discouraged other communities elsewhere in the country with service delivery grievances from engaging in violent protests and rather lodge their complaints with the Public Protector.
In another report released at the briefing titled Befuddled Interest, the Public Protector found that, Ms Merriam Segabutla, the former MEC of Health and Social Development in Limpopo, had acted in breach of the Constitution and the Executive Ethics Code by exposing herself to situations involving the risk of a conflict between her official responsibilities and her private interests. This was prohibited by section 136 of the Constitution and paragraph 2.3 (e) of the Code.
The investigation followed allegations of improper and unethical conduct by Ms Segabutla in connection with contracts relating to forensic investigations that were awarded by the department to Trispen Solutions (PTY) Ltd and Tsepo Technology Consulting (PTY) Ltd.
It was alleged that Ms Segabutla selected the said service providers because the sole Director of Tsepo Technology, Mr J Lucas, is related to her and her attorney, Mr G Van Der Merwe, was involved with Trispen Solution.
The basis for the allegations regarding Mr Lucas was that Ms Segabutla had indicated Mr Lucas as a relative on a visitor's form at her daughter's school in Pretoria. With Mr Van der Merwe, it was alleged that he represented her in a divorce proceedings in return for contractual work.
While the Public Protector could not find evidence that Ms Segabutla was involved in the procurement processes that resulted in the selection of Tsepo Technology and Trispen Solutions, she found that Ms Segabutla acted in a manner that is inconsistent with the position that she occupied and that was not in the best interests of the department.
As part of the remedial action, the Public Protector called on President Jacob Zuma to reprimand Ms Segabutla for her unethical conduct and and advice her on how to conduct herself in the future.
The Speaker of the Limpopo Provincial Legislature was urged to take steps to ensure that the report is tabled in the Legislature within 30 days from the date of its issue.
"The Premier of Limpopo is to take steps to ensure that all Members of the Executive Council in Limpopo are made aware of the contents of this report and are sesnitised about compliance with the provisions of the Constitution and the Ethics Code within 30 days of the date of the report," she said.
For more info contact:
Kgalalelo Masibi
Sopkesperson for the Public Protector
Tel: 012 366 7006
Cell: 076 507 0399
Published Date: 
Wednesday, February 29, 2012