Public Protector says more than half of the Limpopo population lives in poverty

Public Protector Adv. Thuli Madonsela has told the Limpopo Legislature that according to the South Africa’s Development Indicator Report released by Minister in the Presidency Hon. Collins Chabane recently, 74.2 percent of the population in the province lives below the poverty line of R577 per month and 48.5 percent are destitute.

She said this during a meeting with the Legislature today in Polokwane following her two day visit to the province late last month. The meeting sought to offer helpful suggestions to the authorities after identifying impediments to the transformation of the state.

The Public Protector told the Legislature that every year she engages with stakeholders to help them understand the constitutional mandate of her office. She also helps to facilitate dialogue between decision makers and the recipients of service. Since 2012 the approach has been to combine the stakeholder dialogue with Public Hearings on identified systemic investigations.

“My office acts as a catalyst for change to help government check its blind spots. This year we were inspired by the Millennium Development Goals focusing on the goals relating to the eradication of poverty and extreme hunger, reduction of child mortality and improvement of maternal health. We focused on identifying administrative deficiencies and potential indicators of maladministration that create or exacerbate poverty situations,” she said.

The Public Protector observed that the province appears not to have an integrated anti-poverty strategy. She suggested that they should have a profile of who is poor, why they are poor and who is at risk of being poor. She told the Legislature about the Executive Mayor of Polokwane Cllr Freddy Greaver’s plea for help to resettle residents of Steneng squatter camp where two children recently died when their shack was gutted by fire.

Health services issues highlighted to the authorities included red tape in the procurement of critical medical equipment, tender irregularities, staff and drug shortage in public health care facilities, poor office administration in hospitals, the quality of food in hospitals, long waiting periods, job security and remuneration of home based care workers, political favouritism in employment opportunities, poor conditions of service for health care professionals particularly doctors, water shortage and poor infrastructure in rural areas and maternal mortality among others.

Issues impacting on poverty and potential maladministration included land reform claims, traditional authorities, contract management, job security and alleged SASSA service failure.

“I was encouraged by the open mindedness approach and was also persuaded by the observation and suggestions members raised at the meeting. I hope that the Legislature will sit with the Executive to establish where they concede that things are broken,” said Adv Madonsela.

Members of the Legislature confirmed many of the issues presented by the Public Protector and also made their own observations. The meeting also provided an opportunity to discuss the way forward to help the state accelerate the pace of delivery and strengthen governments’ ability to achieve the MDGs. The Public Protector suggested that the members of the Legislature should schedule a debate on the two reports issued by the Presidency to find out if there is a correlation between the two reports. It was agreed that as a way forward the Legislature will act on the suggestions they raised during the meeting.

Issued by: Kgalalelo Masibi
Spokesperson for the Public Protector
Tel: (012) 566 7006
Cell: 079 507 0399
Toll Free: 0800 11 20 40
Twitter: @PublicProtector
Facebook: Public Protector South Africa


Published Date: 
Wednesday, September 18, 2013